That's a neighbor's redbud tree that's blooming. I took its picture this morning while I was taking a walk. I'm not sure it looks very healthy. We used to have a redbud in this yard but it died, as did the dogwoods. We used to have so many dogwoods around here and now they're gone. Mostly. Supposedly they were killed by something called Dogwood Anthracnose. I surely do miss them. When they were in full bloom, they looked like clouds come to earth to show off for a little while.
I spent time outside today as it was another beautiful day and not too cool but definitely cool enough. I pruned back all the roses and then I worked some around the huge live oak in the front yard, clearing the detritus left from last summer's growth. I cut back some of the skinny bamboo that seems to just appear out of nowhere, six feet tall before I notice it. Another pesky plant. I pulled some dewberry vines and also wisteria vines that were tangled in some of the bamboo. There is so much more to do. I seem to just wander from one part of the yard to another with my clippers and garden cart, never finishing any area completely, merely pulling and pruning and digging up whatever is in front of me.
As I worked today, I got some of those visceral memories that occur at certain times of the year. It's a combination of the light, the temperature, and probably even the smell, and perhaps the sounds of certain birds. Suddenly, out of the blue, I kept getting flashbacks of when we first bought this house, 21 years ago this same time of year. We didn't move in for a few months, needing to do a few things before that happened. A little painting, a few repairs. I don't know. But in those months I cleaned this house top to bottom and I spent time outside, mostly just walking around and falling in love with the property, the oak trees, the old barn, wondering what I'd plant in different places, wondering what would be coming up in spring, taking it all in and falling in love with this place harder every day. An old house and its yard have a feeling all their own. A sort of history that you can sense. The yard gives up secrets of old bottles and pieces of dishes, children's toys, railroad spikes, and farm implements. There had been life here for well over a hundred years and now, we would be part of that.
These fleeting but strong flashes of those early days are thrilling, not unlike when you look at your love and for some reason get a perfect and vivid reminder of how you felt when you first met. Before you knew their every quirk and habit, before they knew yours. When there was still a process of mysterious and shimmering discovery occurring, when each and every part of them was so new and so very charming. Before some of those oh-so-darling quirks turned into, "Could you please not...?" or "Seriously, you like to hunt THAT much?" With a house it's more like finding out that that the cool antique hardware on the doors is not very easy to use or that those really cool kitchen floors slant downwards, making it almost impossible to level kitchen appliances and every cherry tomato you ever drop is going to end up in the poorly designed space in front of the cabinets which also collects dirt, medications, cat food, and feral beans. And yeah, mouse droppings because you have MICE!
But if the love, either for the person or the house, is true and strong, you just learn to live with these things and you can even come to cherish them because they are part of what or who you love.
But oh, those seconds of the rememberings...they are part of the joy of long love. And today I felt that as I was in my yard.
I cannot say I worship this tree because that would be inaccurate. I am not a Pagan. But I can say that I am in awe of this tree and that I feel incredibly lucky to have shared part of my life in its shade and presence.
I was grateful beyond belief. And the parts that are still living reach way into the sky and provide shelter and habitat for who knows how many different species of flora and fauna. They are an eco-system all unto themselves.
But not to own. I was never fool enough to believe that anyone could own this place. On paper, sure. But in reality- I was just fortunate enough to be part of the long line of humans who have had the honor of caretaking this house, these trees. I think that the trees were probably here long before Europeans ever stepped foot in this area. I like to imagine the indigenous people who lived here so long ago stopping to rest under the shade of them as they went about their lives.