Something magical is happening. Right now, as we speak. Maybe metres away from where you’re sitting.
Can you hear it? I expect it crackles, just a little bit.
It is the buds bursting. One by one by one.
In February there were tremulous catkins quivering, palest green and yellow. It was easy to miss them. They were right to be nervous.
The elder were the first leaves to go, in March. Little explosions of green in the hedgerows, like hands reaching out to us. They are brave little souls. They survived the snow.
Then, in the thaw, some hard little buds began to break. White tufts of blackthorn and bird cherry, hesitant at first, but growing in confidence, candyfloss-soft against bare branches. There are great bursts of these now, punctuating the lanes.
There’s the palest green pussy willow, at hand-level: it’s impossible not to stroke them.
The brightest green flecks in the hedgerows are hawthorn. Tiny sparks at first, bursting in the sun. First speckles, freckles, but spreading. Sunny spots get clothed first. But once they start they can’t stop. The dots get joined up.
Weeping willows are shimmering and spilling yellow.-green showers, like fountains.
The buds are swelling on the apples and pears. And the end of each spur is a bobble, fat with blossom.
There are bed-knobs at the base of the sycamores. Horse chestnuts are just waiting for the signal. The pressure is building from the roots to the tips: they will split their seams. After this great rupture, there will be half-opened umbrellas for a day or two, just taking the air. Deciding it is safe, they will spring up and out into brightest green parasols. They will make great candelabras for each upright blossom. They will whisper to the oaks, who are just biding their time.
Then, the highlight: there are a wondrous two or three weeks at the end of April, beginning of May, when the oaks show us what green really is.
There is nothing to beat the myriad greens of a sunny oak on a spring day. I cannot help but exclaim “green!” when I see it. There is something about the newborn translucence of an oak leaf, as it overlaps with its partners. It is like a marvelous mosaic of brightest green. A jigsaw, slotted imperfectly together, overlapping to make new greens.
Whatever you do this spring, make sure to stop what you do to gaze upon an oak tree. Stand directly under one and just look up. Get your fix of green. Savour it. Drink it in.
What is your favourite tree? I love to read your comments.