April 1st, and this morning on a hike with the dogs, the first blossoms of the year of salmon berry, Rubus spectabilis, cerise, rich, agitated pigments against the dun quiet of rotted leaves. Newts and banana slugs were on the move and I took pity on more than a few by lofting them across the forest roads in the direction they were pointed. Within the span of only two hundred years, these creatures must now negotiate yards of laid asphalt, size 12 Blodstones and fastly-moving weighted things. Perhaps they will evolve with the potential to puncture tires and bite feet and then we will, at last, take notice.
There is wind: the alders, in blossom but leafless, clack and click like horse hooves on cobblestone streets; the conifers stir fry with a sizzling hiss. John Muir, it is said, could identify trees by the sounds they offered. I must still confirm their identity visually, but I like playing the game none-the-less. There is a dark Heathcliff romance to the sound, accentuated by the haunting one note song of the Varied Thrush.
So here it is, again. April. Quatro. The month in which I disrobe and re-robe more often than a runway model, the garden appearing at day’s end the aftermath of a frenzied tryst. Yesterday, large angry raindrops the size of small grapefruit fell from a perfectly blue sky. I studied the phenomenon with awe until a raindrop the size of a small grapefruit hit me in the eye. April can be such a jokester.
The garden has its moments. Styrax japonicus shows in youthful leaves in tones of acid green; good to wake the eyes after so many months of dark skies. Trillium chloropetalum ‘Primrose Harburg’ has peaked, as has a wonderful clone of Trillium rivale that Josh McCullough, one-time Heronista, shared with me some years ago, with black foliage and demure nodding pink flowers.
My newly planted meadow garden on the back acreage awoke from its empty, depressing, decrepit appearance to exhibit a sprinkling of crocus, muscari and anemone amidst an empty, depressing, decrepit expanse of nothingness. It will take some rethinking. It is now the puzzle worth solving and puzzles worth solving in one’s garden make one’s garden worth puzzling.
So, here, April. Wetted, warmed, rainbowed, darkened, frozen, warmed, wetted April.