Sunday, April 16, 2006

The point of it all.

Today, the flowers kept turning out. But their purpose is now becoming more and more clear: they really are only the harbingers, only the first signs, not the things themselves. The leaves are pushing their way in. For my tulip magnolia, their pushing means that the petals were showering all day, even before the rain set in early tonight. I know, from past years, how short the lifespan of magnolia blooms is. And yet it's been a bit heart-aching to see how swiftly the overblowing has set in, how soon the rot--the petals cracking and browning even before they fall to the ground. Once they're on the ground, they get slippery and smell spoiled. And I know that the leaves are their own beauty, but I can't help rueing them just a bit. To watch flowers give way to leaves on tree after tree is to be staggered by the infinite repetition of short-lived loveliness.

Overnight, the dragon moved, and when I walked past his usual haunts this afternoon, I was more dismayed than seemed logical. I have known since December that his tenure in my (far) neighbor's yard is probably limited. And yet he has become such a fixture in that yard that I do not walk past his house without thinking that it is indeed his house or winking a greeting as I pass. I spent the rest of my walk to campus meditating on the all-campus e-mail I could send, demanding that someone return the dragon, even though neither the dragon nor the yard belongs to me. But on the way home, o frabjous day! callooh! callay! I chortled in my joy to see that he wasn't gone; he was merely hiding in a planter.

And this discovery, in turn, helped fortify me for more staring at my swiftly deflowering tree. (If you're wondering just how swift, please bear in mind that when I arrived home a week ago, the buds were just starting to emerge from their fuzzy winter shells. And so documenting the tree this week has become a way to track just how speedily some natural processes move.) See the leaves? They're curling out at the base of every single flower, and they're poking out of the ends even of the flowerless branches. By morning, between the push of leaves and the plash of rain, I expect that most of the petals will have come down.


Blogger Nick Davis said...

I simply cannot wait to see this dragon. Through your photos, his whereabouts have become a daily mile-marker for me, so I fully understand your dismay at seeing him moved—and your relief at finding him in his new digs.

2:35 AM, April 17, 2006  
Blogger ttractor said...

I so like that someone is playing dragon hide and seek...maybe aware that someone is paying attention, maybe not.

Thinking about a comment you made about the way I shoot, I tried the other day to take a picture "like you" and became very aware that I neither have your eye nor your environment. And some times I pass by something that is not quite, I can't really get it to come together in my mind, I think of you saying "she would know what to do with this" and wonder if we could get it to work out together.

7:53 AM, April 17, 2006  
Blogger Dr. S said...

@Ttractor: That's funny. When I finally make it to town, we'll have to go walking and see what different things we come up with.

What I can't believe is that I never noticed the specific thing that makes a maple tree look that fuzzy light green. I had a huge maple tree outside the house I lived in for six years, in Ithaca, and I remember the color, and I remember trying to photograph the color, but somehow I never saw the little cascade that makes the color.

And @Nick: the dragon is still in the same yard (that is, the planter is on that same property), which really is what has kept me from swiping him and "protecting" him, which I know would be stealing, and would also defeat the point of it all, which is not to be in control of him. But I'll tell you: when I suspected that he'd been stolen by some drunk party-goers the other night, I was angry at the selfishness of the person who would take the dragon and thus deprive all the rest of us of seeing him.

4"oE was surprised by how small the dragon is.

I feel funny about having to trespass on my neighbor's property to take pictures of him, but there it is.

8:52 AM, April 17, 2006  
Blogger amanda said...

You're inspiring me to my own mischief up here, though I wonder if anyone will notice when I start moving my frog statue around my neighborhood. Please don't hate me for tagging you, but I know you will use this opportunity to reflect on six quirky things that make you wonderful. Or you could just ignore it. Deets here:

2:56 PM, April 17, 2006  

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