An Unexpected Gap

Crossing into spring

 

Reaching high into the air, this long, slender branch from what appears to be an elm tree caught my attention because of its bridge-like curve, and the lovely, green glow of its leaves against the sky.

As so often happens, enlarging the photo revealed an additional, amusing detail: a gap in the neat procession of growth where one bud had failed to open. Was it sleeping? Just a little lazy? Perhaps it was protesting Spring’s arrival, or had been prevented from opening by some external force.

Whatever the cause, the gap among the leaves recalls these words of Annie Dillard, from Pilgrim At Tinker Creek:

The gaps are the thing. The gaps are the spirit’s one home, the altitudes and latitudes so dazzlingly spare and clean that the spirit can discover itself like a once-blind man unbound.
The gaps are the clefts in the rock where you cower to see the back parts of God; they are the fissures between mountains and cells that the wind lances through: the icy, narrowing fiords splitting the cliffs of mystery.
Go up into the gaps if you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock — more than a maple — a universe.

 

Comments always are welcome.

Working On Easter

Bluebonnets at work

 

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird –
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
astonished —
the phoebe, the delphinium,
the sheep in the pasture, and the pasture —
which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
                                               “Messenger” ~ Mary Oliver

 

Comments always are welcome.

Going For The Gold

Texas groundsel (Senecio ampullaceus) ~ Colorado County

It’s bluebonnet time in Texas. Given fair weather and a healthy crop of our lovely state flower, thousands of people will head into the countryside to take photos of hills turned blue. “Going to see the bluebonnets” is a Texas tradition, and a fine one.

But bluebonnets aren’t our only spring delight. Indian paintbrush and pink evening primrose can bloom just as enthusiastically, and other plants occasionally put on their own remarkable shows.

Traveling State Highway 71 last week, I discovered acres of Texas groundsel glowing with uncommon intensity. Spread across ranch fields and filling ditches on both sides of the road, accompanied by hundreds of white prickly poppies, the flowers tossed and bobbed in the wind: an extraordinary, glorious sight.

 

Groundsel with white prickly poppies (Argemone albiflora)

 

High noon in a Texas ditch


Comments always are welcome.