The spectacular glory of autumn foliage is well-documented. The spring thing is appreciated for a different set of reasons. They are bookends of sorts in the cycle of life.
As one scans the hillsides of our beautiful home here in the Upper Valley you would expect to see nascent greens. But behold a palette of pinks, ivory, and yes tender green shoots. After a long winter and seemingly endless gray rainy days we are grasping at any color that will break the tyranny of the bleak landscape. Almost magically like a paintbrush, a delicate maroon dapples the horizon as our maples whisper color! They are not leaves, so what are they?
Being a regular guy and not a botanist I had to do a little research. I am familiar with the oak’s acorns and the “whirlibirds” produced by the maples that provided me with endless fascination as a kid. But what are these pink things that litter my springtime walkway and provide the first break from the monotonous horizon?
Why, it’s the flowers dummy!
While I am intimately familiar with apple tree blossoms and the fruit (seeds) they encourage, our beloved oaks and maples and birches have a similar life cycle. It just plays out in a more subtle fashion. Whereas trees like ornamental crab and cherry are prized for their showy display of flowers, every tree starts its year with a bloom.
So, hurry up and observe our mountains come alive with color! It is brief, it is subtle. But it is beautiful and means an end to mud season!