Saturday, April 3, 2010
Yeah, I know, I am going out on a limb here writing two days in a week on this blog thing. Its just that today when I look around, the world is getting beautiful again. Maybe all isn't perfect yet, but getting closer, and I just feel so much better when the earth is happy. Today , the earth is splendid. I do not know about, and have never experienced, spring anywhere but the south. I am sure it must be nice elsewhere too. But there is something about a southern spring with daffodils, camillias, red bud trees, azaleas, air thick with pollen (rough if you have alergies), horses shedding winter coats, dogs rolling on emerging green shoots of grass, and frogs jumping from under your feet on the edges of ponds as you cast a line at a bream that sets a mood of peace,contentment, positive energy, and a will to get dirt under your fingernails and plant a vegetable or two.
The camellias have just put on a spectacular show this year after a really dismal one last spring. The Taylor's Pink Perfection outside the back screened porch has been a gaudy mound of lotus shaped mops of a rich and perfect pink. There are few things that I find lovelier, or more southern, than a show of camellias framed by oak trees and spanish moss.
My grandfather, Bibb, my father's father, was the one who introduced me to the camellia plant. When I was very young and was dropped off to be baby sat while mom had something to do, my granddad would take the time to slowly and methodically walk me around his yard and we would spend long times at each wonderful plant. Sometimes he would turn over some of the leaves on these evergreen shrubs and if he saw some white scale on the leaf he would take out an ancient pocket knife and carefull scrape the white powder off the leaf. He would then take out a white handkerchief and slowly wipe the blade, and return the folded knife to his pocket. This wise old man never did anything with haste, and I do believe he was a Zen Master sent here to pass along his teachings to this particular kid.
He had many different varieties of the shrub but my favorite was a huge pepperment colored one that was mostly white with radiating bands of an intense pinkish red stripe from the center of the bloom. There were also many varieties that I haven't been able to identify, heirlooms from who knows where, ruffles, giants, blazing colors, a sheer magical array of petals on all. It was his quiet reverence for each indiviual plant that was what moved me, and taught me as a little kid to take time to admire and thank the flower for putting forth such a fine spectacle.