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