The dried fruit on the crabapple trees have been hanging, shriveled and unappreciated, all winter - so I was glad to see that the robins enjoy eating them, and to hear their singing. Is it early for robins to appear, migrating in such multitudes? I don't know - but last week I saw an opossum, and I have to wonder about that too.
Following are a few examples of the prevailing trends that make for the inescapable conclusion that unprecedented things are occurring in our tree population. I'm not sure why exactly, but I do know, none of this is normal, or beneficial. First - bark is frayed, splitting, and falling from trunks and branches.
This happens to be a dogwood - but you can find the same thing on every species. It's unbelievable how fast this trend is visible, among trees young and old and in between.
This makes for a very changed landscape, where the view into a mixed wood is wide open, through pines that until this year were solid walls of greenery.
The interiors are a palette of extreme hues of red (lost bark), black (fungus), and white (oozing sap.)
It is a strange red hue. Here is a closeup of a rampant calamity - splitting and seeping, bleeding sap.
The woman who planted this Alaska Cypress is quite a devoted gardener. Last fall, it was a cascade of lush green. You couldn't see through it to the wall of the building. It's a very special and unusual specimen.
Then to be polite and respectful, even though it's obviously on death's doorstep, I blurted out something awkwardly dumb like, well, it's just lovely! To which she replied, with a pained and stricken expression, "Thank You!"
Here are the two poems promised in the title of this post:
A Song of Enchantment
A song of Enchantment I sang me there,
In a green green wood, by waters fair,
Just as the words came up to me
I sang it under the wild wood tree.
Widdershins turned I, singing it low,
Watching the wild birds come and go;
No cloud in the deep dark blue to be seen
Under the thick-thatched branches green.
Twilight came: silence came:
The planet of Evening's silver flame;
By darkening paths I wandered through
Thickets trembling with drops of dew.
But the music is lost and the words are gone
Of the song I sang as I sat alone
Ages and ages have fallen on me -
On the wood and the pool and the elder tree.
There is wind where the rose was;
Cold rain where sweet grass was;
And clouds like sheep
Stream o'er the steep
Grey skies where the lark was.
Nought gold where your hair was;
Nought warm where your hand was;
But fantom, forlorn,
Beneath the thorn,
Your ghost where your face was.
Sad winds where your voice was;
Tears, tears where my heart was;
And ever with me,
Child, ever with me,
Silence where hope was.