Things in Bloom

Outside in my front yard, right now, the crabapple tree is white with flowers. Absolutely White. It has been blooming for some days, and even when it looked as though it had no more room for flowers, I still saw buds as yet unopened.

Now some of the blossoms are beginning to fade. The green of the new leaves is beginning to show here and there, and now there are white petals all over the ground, surrounding the tree like the train of a long gown. The air smells sweet with the flowers, and bees fumble their way among the blossoms.

When I stand in Emma Grace’s room, I can see the tree directly out her window.

Her room is nearly finished now. I still need to make curtains for her windows (and that will happen when???), but the walls are painted, the dressers are painted, and the other day my mother painted the child-sized corner cupboard to match the dressers– the corner cupboard her father made for her when she was eight years old. She also hung pictures: the Winnie-the-Pooh sketches that my father bought for me in Nuneaton, England and carried back to the lodge under his arm while riding his bicycle; the oil painting of the tree, tulips and blooming forsythia that my mother painted when she was eleven; and, above the bed, the pastel drawing my grandmother did of a little blond girl holding a bunny.

My grandmother did not have blond children or grandchildren, and did not live to know her great-grandchildren. But she has a blond great-grandchild who has a favorite animal she always sleeps with: a bunny.

And now my daughter has a tree white with blossoms outside her window. It isn’t a cherry tree, but it is white, and this was my grandmother’s favorite poem:

Loveliest of Trees

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

-A.E. Housman


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