As Winter free-wheels down to its closing stages, a delightful spring teaser surreptitiously unveils. The prunus trees, having been all skeletally grey and bare for many months, miraculously bloom into fluffy marshmallow-esque wonderments. The blossom is about – and spring is drawing closer.
Today my first glimpses are caught through the window of an ever-ferrying suburban car, but as a child quite differently. On crisp mornings casually sauntering along the school route, I would gaze in admiration, as these neighbourhood trees would transform into naturestrip and front-garden showpieces. Should the temperature elevate slightly, making a particular morning unseasonally mild, the bees took an interest equal to mine.
But let me tell you, not all prunus trees are created equally. My backyard hosted a couple of species, one from which my childhood swing was attached. The blossom they produced, while pink and delicate, did not have the voluptuous density of those pictured above. Their display was usually short-lived as they shed quickly. My classmate Anna however, who descended from avid gardening stock, was keeper of prunus that was simply majestic. Anna would arrive in the classroom clutching a spectacular arrangement, ends expertly bound in foil, to present to our teacher. How I coveted her offering.
One morning, when the urge to present a bouquet of my own became too great, I paused on school route and diligently snapped a number of branches off a local tree. Hats off to the teacher, who must have been aware of their origin by the clumsy arrangement and without hesitation, showed equal enthusiasm for my contribution to her desk.
Postscript: and still, not having a sumptuous prunus to call my own, I am once again coveting the beauty of others’ by gazing at and photographing my neighbourhood gems.