Monday, April 26, 2010

Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus)

Springtime is truly here when the Fringe Trees bloom in our back woods. The delicate flowers are hard to see, but I can smell the fragrant blooms from all over the back woods, and on a breezy day like today, their sweetness can waft all the way out to the pipeline. Also blooming in the woods are the dozen or so Catesby's Trillium that I have protected, babied, fretted over, read about, as well as painted, drawn, and bragged about for the last 20 years. Their pink, nodding blooms are so beautiful.

Today there were many other flowers in bloom, as well: Soloman's Seal, Dewberry, Lyre-leaf Sage, Wood Sorrel, as well as Spotted Cat's Ear, Hawkweed, and Dwarf Cinquefoil. Wild Strawberries (white with yellow center) were blooming along with Indian Strawberries (yellow) and the tiny Carolina Cranesbill. I made a mental note of them as the dogs and I hiked in the cool breeze. Near Meetinghouse Creek grew Violets (Common Blue) and a variety of ferns unfurling into the sun. Several spots of bright red in the creek caught my eye. Upon inspection I found them to be Cross Vine blossoms that had fallen upstream from. The more I looked, the more red and yellow flowers I found drifting down the creek, catching on rocks and reeds, or swirling around in small eddies. Daisy noticed that I was interested and ran to check them out too, stepping on some, snapping at others, getting right in front of me so I couldn't see the water at all. Sigh.... some day I might have to leave Miss Daisy at home.

When I finally sat to draw a tiny, half-inch long Praying Mantis hopped onto my journal page. I removed him with care and started in on my branch of fringe tree. When the breeze slacked off, biting gnats appeared from nowhere. I had to swat at them awhile until luckily, clouds moved in along with an even stronger wind that blew the gnats back to where they came from. Daisy and Radu wandered back and settled down beside me. I wondered if they could appreciate the amazing fragrance of the Fringe Tree beside them. I know I did.

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