Willows and Rain

The delicacy of spring’s regrowth ~ San Bernard Wildlife Refuge
(click image to enlarge)

 

A light exists in spring
Not present on the year
At any other period.
When March is scarcely here
A color stands abroad
On solitary hills
That science cannot overtake,
But human nature feels.
It waits upon the lawn;
It shows the furthest tree
Upon the furthest slope we know;
It almost speaks to me.
Then, as horizons step,
Or noons report away,
Without the formula of sound,
It passes, and we stay:
A quality of loss
Affecting our content,
As trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a sacrament.
                                                           ~ Emily Dickinson

 

Comments always are welcome.

Orpheus, Singing

In all seasons the crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) hears Orpheus, and heals

 

Orpheus with his lute made trees
And the mountain tops that freeze
Bow themselves when he did sing:
To his music plants and flowers
Ever sprung; as sun and showers
There had made a lasting spring.
Every thing that heard him play,
Even the billows of the sea,
Hung their heads and then lay by.
In sweet music is such art
Killing care and grief of heart
Fall asleep, or hearing, die.

 

                                                       Henry VIII – Act III, Scene 1 ~ William Shakespeare

 

Comments always are welcome.

One Tree, Two Seasons

In April of 2016, the fuzzy little buds covering the nondescript tree at the Brazoria Wildlife Refuge seemed to invite touching. Both softer and more stiff than I’d imagined, they offered no hint of what they might become.

Two weeks later, with the tree in riotous bloom, identification became easier. I’d found an example of a south Texas tree commonly known as Mexican olive.

Flowers and buds of the Anacahuita, or Mexican Olive  (Cordia boissieri)

Native from the Rio Grande valley of Texas south to San Luis Potosi in Mexico, it consistently blooms year-round. Where it’s been introduced into landscapes farther north, in areas such as Austin and San Antonio, its flowering is most intense in late spring and early summer.

Through the spring of 2016, I admired its buds and flowers, but never saw the tree actually bearing fruit. Then, in July of this year, I was scanning the garden at the refuge entrance when I saw a strange, acorn-shaped object that had fallen onto the ground.

Looking up, I realized it had fallen off the Mexican olive. After more than a year, I finally had seen the completion of the tree’s natural cycle: from bud, to flower, to fruit.

Despite my fantasies about Texas tapenade, I learned the fruit is best left to birds, squirrels, deer, and livestock, since the tree is part of the Borage family and isn’t related to edible olives. Although sometimes made into jelly, its consumption can lead to side effects such as dizziness, and it’s generally considered unpalatable to humans.

That said, it’s a beautiful Texas native and a reminder that, when it comes to nature, return visits can yield unpredictable delights.

Comments always are welcome.