It’s Sugar Tyme

With my 56th approaching by week’s end, I thought to throw out a birthday challenge for the week. Can I create a post a day, limit 300 words or so, each one about Nature or our garden? Of all the topics I blog about, writing about Nature thrills me the most.

Born in the spring and raised in Atlanta, I always thought the world celebrated my birthday by bursting into blossom. And while many a birthday up here in the Great Lakes State has often been spent wearing snow boots, this year my day has been heralded for nearly two weeks already.

I am grateful for each of you who stops by, leaves a comment or just allows my words to lift your heart or pique your curiosity. I won’t send out a daily notice of a new post. Just know that there will be a nature reflection each day this week. Here’s Day Three’s post.

The flowers of the Sugar Tyme crabapple have been gestating for weeks. This sweet little tree has been patiently waiting her turn while the Bradford Pear, commanding and thrice Sugar Tyme’s height, went into a magnificent flowering of white. The pear bloomed so unseasonably early that I would wake up some mornings and look out, momentarily confused over whether it was snow or flowers covering her branches.

The petals of the pear have now drifted into memory. For the past week the crabapple has gifted us with occasional top notes of perfume, wafting through the yard like renegade balloons escaped from a far-off balloon man.

I first encountered crabapple trees in ’75, Kenyon College, the spring of freshman year. To this day, their scent reawakens in me every college student’s late spring conflict: do I head back to the dorm to study for exams or do what I really want to do, which is put on a pair of shorts and a halter top and run barefoot through the grass? Heading to the dark side of fifty, I marvel how the essence of one small tree turns back the clock to rekindle decades-old ambivalence. Responsibility or youthful abandon? Academic duty or feeding the soul?

Overnight the Sugar Tyme came into full and gorgeous flower. When I left for work today I hesitated, enjoying the memories before I slowly backed down the driveway, sunroof open, all the windows down. Youthful abandon took the necessary back seat to responsibility.

I don’t wear shorts too often and haven’t owned a halter top in nearly four decades. But tomorrow morning while morning is still new and quiet, I will steal outside barefoot. Tomorrow morning it’ll just be me, my soul and the Sugar Tyme.

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