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  • Betty Girardeau

The Very First


One of the earliest signs of spring in my neighborhood is my front yard cherry tree. It seems to take very few warm days in late winter for the buds to swell and start to bloom. Every year it delights me with many opportunities to photograph it, including, one year, with popping buds totally incased in ice. It had already been planted when we bought the house, so I am unsure of exactly what kind of cherry tree it is, but I think it is a Kanzakura. While we tend to think of Japan when we think of cherry trees, they can actually be found all over the northern hemisphere as well as in Australia and New Zealand. And cherry blossom festivals are important events all over the world. As I have been going through my collection of images I have not found one year where I did not take pictures of the buds or blooms on my tree. This year it bloomed particularly early, in late February. We were still having some frosty nights, and we even had some snow after it was in bloom. I was concerned that the delicate blooms would be injured. But this year, as we started to hunker down and deal with home sheltering and isolation from the outside world, the cooler temperatures did no damage, and, in fact, seemed to maintain the blooms for weeks rather than days. It was as though this was a message from Mother Nature not to lose heart. Amid the fear and sadness in the world was the message that life will go on; there is still beauty and promise in the world; and they can and will survive even when threatened. My community has an abundance of other spring flowering trees, but there are only a few like mine. I love this tree and hope to be able to enjoy it for many more springs.

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