Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Signs of Spring (At Last)
My block in Brooklyn is a lovely block of hundred-year-old brownstone townhouses. It's still treelined (probably mostly a post-elm second wave), and many people plant stoop gardens. But by the end of the winter the block looks pale and bleached of color. It's as though the salt we used to melt the ice has coated everything: the sidewalks, the street, the seemingly lifeless trees, the courtyard walls.
Last year the City planted a small cherry tree in the space out front left empty after the demise of a previous leafy resident. It took a few years of calls to 311 and some begging with the visiting tree judge. But one morning in late winter a bulldozer showed up, the tree was planted with a tag on care instructions, and lo and behold it survived the year. This year, thanks to a 70-degree Monday, it's the first on the block to burst out blooming, its delicate white blooms hopefully now teasing the other trees on the block to rouse from their sleep.
Out back the neighbor's northern magnolia lost a few more branches under heavy snow this year, but it's now blooming as well, a little bit late I think; That's it below. It puts on a big but brief show every Spring before covering the ground out back with fallen petals. The feral cats living beneath it already seem more relaxed and cheerful; they too can tell they've survived another winter.
It was a snowy winter, and has been a bit of a chilly Spring thus far, but the occasional super warm day suggests the color is about to bust out all over the block. Hello world!
Click on the photos to see them larger.