The last few weeks I have traded my camera and computer for a nail-puller, hammer, and drill. Our screened-in porch is in desperate need of a make-over. The chipmunks have chewed holes in the screens, and the decades of rain have rotted the sills, cross beams, and lower siding. Between the uncooperative weather (rain and cold) and the longer-than-expected time to dismantle the old, the project will be taking much longer than expected. Isn’t that the way it always goes?! Lead project manager was my Mom who is a very competent carpenter. She traveled from South Dakota to celebrate her grandson’s graduation from college and to help me for six days.
May in Minnesota is the Unfolding time. It begins with buds of every style, size, and color–the environment is expectant with the lushness of what is to come. It is exciting and humbling all at the same time. It never fails to amaze me that huge compound leaves and spikes of flowers can begin their transformation from such tiny buds! And the wonder of ferns, hostas, and other perennials emerging from the previously snow-covered ground is so Life affirming!
Maple leaves emerge like wet-winged butterflies, wrinkled and folded. As they mature, they change from a light bronze color to the solid, oxygen-producing green of the chlorophyll packed cells.
Linden tree leaf buds look like tiny bouquets of flowers on gray stems until they unfold to the serrated, heart-shaped leaves.
The Unfolding of the shiny red leaves and flower clusters of the Norway Maple is spectacular! As the leaves mature, the red color fades into green.
Striated Birch buds look like tiny boutonnieres along the flexible branches. The fully developed leaves are glossy green against the white of the birch bark.
The stick trunk of a young Kentucky Coffeetree undergoes an amazing transformation as the rounded buds unfold into long clusters of compound leaves.
Elongated, twisted buds of Virginia creeper vines open to five-fingered, dark green leaves that grow along the ground or climb up trees and other objects.
Oak leaves are one of the last to emerge from their buds. The young leaves are pale green and tender, yet develop into strong, deeply lobed leaves of rich green.
Many of the oaks bloomed prolifically this year with green pompoms hanging from the branches. The leaves on the blooming trees were even smaller and more pale than the other emerging leaves. As the flowers dried and fruit production began (there should be abundant acorns this year), the leaves continued to develop more slowly as the trees’ energy went to flower and fruit production.
Locust trees are late bloomers, distinct in their yellow-green foliage.
In three weeks’ time the Unfolding is dramatic!
In twenty years’ time this Unfolding is no less dramatic, but much more heart-stirring. How can our youngest child be graduated from college?!
Life is unfolding around us, and we greet each day with expectation of what is to come. Often we only stop to reflect when we reach a major milestone or when faced with a life-changing event, and then we wonder how the time could slip by so quickly. Did we savor enough minutes along the way? Did we make the moments count for ourselves and the loved ones around us? It is humbling, exciting, and a little sad as our ten years of being parents to college students comes to an end. We need to let go of the reins–and I am reluctant to do so. The years and decades of my energy going to our flowers and fruit has slowed my development in certain ways but has enriched and transformed my life in so many others. Each one of us–my Mom, Chris and I, the girls, and Aaron–steps into another day that unfolds before us. We learn, mature, transform, respect the old, cherish the gifts, and make way for the new.