Life is Twisted

We have a couple of wisteria trees.  Their branches, with each passing year, become ever more twisted and intertwined.

Wisteria Twisted 2

The swirling branches, new and old, remind me of the paths some people take during their lives.

New shoots, which can lengthen a foot or more each day, wander aimlessly skyward until their weight makes them drop down into the existing branches.  Children exploring their universe, eventually coming home to the familiarity and safety of friends and relatives.

And, like typical children growing up, some shoots are a bit rebellious and seek new paths away from home.  A nearby chimney to cling to and wrap around, or the adjacent maple tree with its branches beckoning like an exotic, far away town to run away to.

Wisteria Twisted 1

As branches grow more mature and seek their own spot in the world, they continue to wrap clockwise around their elders.  They embrace their siblings and support previous generations.

Sometimes they actually fuse with another branch and become one — a wedding of sorts for these young lovers.  As the years pass, however, one may end up choking the life out of the other until one or both succumb to the suffocating griphold.

Occasionally a branch will be reclusive, finding a path for itself with a minimum amount of twisting, touching, or interacting with others.

Our grape vines are also like perpetual children, year after year.  New growth is fast and furious and chaotic — like children at recess on a mild spring day.

As they run and skip and play, though, they seek friends and support.  “Hello, neighbor leaf.  Will you be my friend?”, a growing shoot may ask as it wraps its tendril around the adjacent vine.  “Hello, Mr. Steel Cable.  Will you help keep me in the air and sunshine?”, another asks on its seasonal journey.

We all have our twisted paths to follow and obstacles to face and overcome, and we can learn from the plants.

It is easier when you have another to hold onto.

Budding Hopes

Springtime brings a proliferation of colors, shapes, and the promise of beauty and fragrance yet to come.

From the rhododendron laden with heavy buds ready to burst open, to thousands of delicate light blue to dark purple flowers on the pleasingly pungent rosemary bushes beckoning bumblebees and hummingbirds to partake of the feast, and the multitude of dogwood bracts getting ready to impress us with their hues and aromas, the garden is alive and well this year.

Last spring, after a cold winter with ice and snow storms that took a substantial toll, the dogwood produced only a handful of blooms.  The rosemary plants lost many branches — snapped off from the weight of the frozen precipitation.  The rhodies (and azaleas) were not nearly as prolific as they typically are.  Our primary afternoon shade tree, a 50-60 foot paper birch, alas, also succumbed to the storms.  Sad for us, equally sad for the crow families which would gather in its many large branches hoping for a handout of bread crusts which they would soak in the bird baths before ingesting — yum!  Soggy bread!

So with this year’s relatively mild winter, bearing little ice and snow, it is good to see last year’s survivors returning in full bloom.

Did I mention the weeds?