Crazy Maurice (our Weeping Willow tree) has been showing signs of waking up since the days just after the cold snap in February. You can usually spot some of the earliest and clearest signs of Spring as the stems of willows often turn a bright yellow - especially if you contrast it to either the brown or white that is usually prevalent in our Iowa landscape during the cold months.
In fact, the yellow is changing to yellow-green as the buds of new leaves start to swell. Crazy Maurice is actually quite awake right now, but he is also quite busy. After all, waking up after a long Winter can be an all-consuming process.
Even so, Crazy Maurice was kind enough to offer up some beginning of the year thoughts that we will share here.
It was actually nice to have a visit from the Fuzzy Guy with the Red Hat, despite what the old Oaks on the farm say about him (note: they said it wasn't a good idea for trees to talk to farmers). Sometimes, Fuzzy Guy comes out to my corner of the farm on that rolling, red thing that growls like it's always wanting more to eat even though it isn't really hungry.... (he means Rosie, our tractor). But, this time, he walked out here to just look around and to check on me.
Say what you want about farmers, but it felt pretty nice to have him come out just because he wanted to see how I was doing.
Of course, he was also checking in with some of the other trees out here and he needs to see if there are things he needs to do. I understand that. But, still... he did come to visit me.
Fuzzy Guy told me that there are some flowers showing up at the farm including one type he calls a Pasque Flower. Since I don't get around too much (ha ha. That's a tree joke.) He took a moment to describe them to me. They sound like a flower I could get to like. They are among the first to emerge from the ground and bloom each year. I can respect another plant that likes to get an early start on things each year - even if they are pretty darned small and even though they handle the cold months by hiding under the surface of the soil.
I made a suggestion that it would be neat to have one of those flowers within my range of sight and Fuzzy Guy said something about "We'll see...."
This is where I wish I could teach Fuzzy Guy about using his words. As it is, it is hard enough for me to understand him because he uses so few of them to explain things that deserve many MORE words. I just know, for example, that these little "Pasque Flowers" deserve a much bigger and more useful name.
Anyway, I suspect this "We'll see" thing is code for something. I mean, if he just put one of these flowers nearby, then we could BOTH see it. Right? So, that could be what he means, couldn't it? But, that's not the sense I got.
The good thing about being a tree is that I do have a little extra height that allows me to see more things at a time than short farmers. Fuzzy Guy said he could share a picture of what he can see from my location, so I'll trust that he'll do that. (note, see above picture from last Spring)
Being one of the first to wake up enough to get a look around gives me the opportunity to welcome some of the "hops around in branches, flaps in the sky and make pretty, high-pitched noises things" (birds) as they return. The "noisy, squawky, ground hoppers that the farmer feeds, etc..." (chickens) are a bit further away from me this time of year - and I am very fine with that. Those things just never seem to shut up and it doesn't seem to matter what time of year it is for them to chatter.
Don't get me wrong. The chickens (as the Fuzzy Guy calls them) are fine visitors in the warmer months. They can be amusing and quite absurd (a new word Fuzzy Guy tought me today! I like it!). But, I do prefer a chance to read the news of the world as it unfolds in the Spring without their incessant interruptions.
The grasses and clover in the pasture areas are greening up and there are hints that my other tree friends out here are getting the sap running.
Fuzzy Guy mentioned that the Ash trees on the farm are dead or dying. Of course, I knew this was happening because we (the trees) do share the news. The Ashes really weren't a bad sort, to my way of thinking. A bit quicker to accept a 'hasty tree,' such as myself - unlike the old Oaks. Perhaps not the most creative - but they came from good seed, as we say. Sadly, their end came prematurely. But, sometimes there is no way of avoiding such things.
I am aware that Pretty Lady and Fuzzy Guy have planted some younger trees near the old Ashes over the years. Since I get most of my tree news from the furthest parts of the farm from the bigger trees (because I can see and hear them), I only get partial updates about the younglings. The Oaks claim they don't think much about us - preferring the company of our elders, but they say I am getting hard to ignore.
I think that might also be because there are so few around here that are older trees. It's something to ponder.
Now I shall spend some time observing the turning of the Earth. There is so much to see. And so much to learn. And so many words to describe it all.