Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hazel: the first blossoms of Spring

I don’t know about you all, but for me, right around this time, I become REALLY eager to find signs of spring. Maybe even a bit obsessed: I make a point of checking out all the Hazel shrubs in the neighborhood, looking for those first tiny blossoms.

Now if you blink, you might miss those flowers. Less than a quarter of an inch, tiny magenta petals burst bravely forth from the bud tips of the hazel branches. I have seen them as early as December in some years. Not this year; it was January 10th when I found the first flowers.

How do they do this, after the bitter ice & snow of last month? How do they put themselves out there in this weather, and how do they prosper? It seems like a true act of faith: putting out their blossoms in a gesture of faith & hope that there will be warmer days, and more sun, and the wind will bring pollen, all so that they can make hazelnuts. With luck a squirrel buries the nut and viola! This particular hazel has paid off all that gambling by passing on its genetic material.

So when I see those first blossoms, there’s something about them that is profoundly magical: it’s as if the winter ice encasing my heart starts to melt, things start to flow, and once again I feel the possibility of a green and healing time to come...


Resources: Photos by Chavala of Seattle, from Flickr.com

1 comment:

  1. The quote from today's Word-a-Day seemed like something you'd like:

    "Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another."

    -John Muir, Naturalist and explorer (1838-1914)