The Annual Posting of “Loveliest of Trees”

After the weekend’s freakishly late,  slushy snowfall–four to six inches of windswept snow in our backyard–I feel that the world, or at least this small corner of it, has turned the page to spring. The garden has been tilled and composted, and it’s time to plant  tomatoes, collard greens, and peppers. In April I’ll probably add okra, eggplant and a few other things.  I noticed the giant fig tree broke its first buds the other day, and the cardinals I always think of as “our” cardinals are back from wherever cardinals go in the winter. (Maybe they play winter ball in Honduras.)

In North Texas, one of the real glories of the landscape is the Bradford pear, which erupts into impossibly white, delicate blossoms in mid-March.  As I’m out walking, the sight of the pears always makes me start reciting A. E. Housman’s fine poem, “Loveliest of Trees,” which I post below as I do each spring.  If you do the math the way the speaker does, you may find yourself paying more attention to the season’s beauty.

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
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