As I may have mentioned, we are comfortably housed under a gorgeous oak hammock, the oaks hung with Spanish moss and, in the right weather, bright emerald resurrection ferns. The oaks provide protection from the summer heat, filter the light from a harsh glare into puddles and spills and spatters of soft gold, and house birds ranging from the huge pileated woodpeckers and thrushes who seldom come down from the canopy to the cardinals and chickadees and wrens that visit our feeders every day. But there's a downside. See that picture? See the carpet of inelegant crunchy brownness? Those are oak leaves. Millions and millions of oak leaves. And that picture wasn't taken back in November; it was taken just now. Millions of brown ungly oak leaves, falling like rain from the sky, all spring long.
When the spring comes, the bright new leaves push out, like babies that come when the Great Mother calls them and cannot be denied. Because the fall and winter weather have not sufficed to strip off last year's leaves as they did the acorns (and believe me, they DID strip off acorns in the hundreds of billions), the old brown leaves still garnish the trees. Until the birth of the bright pale new ones, which you can see here. In both photos, the pale green leaves in the foreground are those intrepid new ones, pushing the old ones on their journey to the ground where Rodney and I will mow over them or push them into piles or try and burn them. Eventually we'll ignore them. And we will take joy in the new growth, celebrate the passing of the spring, the lengthening days, and the bright coming of Midsummer, at the summer solstice.