Some – not all – just some crabapple trees work so hard blooming up a storm one year, they need a longer-than-twelve-month break before they do it again.
Sure, they do actually flower in those ‘off’ years, but it’s just a more ‘here and there’ kind of thing.
When we bought The Inn back in 2005, we inherited a very old crabapple tree (Malus Something). It took me a lot of years to figure out Gladys’ flowering schedule, mostly because we were more likely to be down in Dunstable at a track meet, band performance, or soccer match each spring when she was putting on her shows here in Maine.
Yes, my old crabapple’s name is Gladys – Gladys Crabitz. She sits very close to my neighbor’s house, and I think she spends far too much of her time paying attention to what’s going on over there (and then telling me about it, no matter how many times I tell her I’m not interested in her gossiping).
Anyway, once we moved up here full time, I realized that she really does need a good 24 months between mind-blowing shows. I cannot tell you how much time I spend soothing the disappointments of regular visitors to our street – walkers, runners, and/or drive-by-ers – who see her starting to make progress toward blooming in an off year, and then start to check on her daily – sometimes more than that (true) – awaiting the big performance.
When I try to explain Glady’s process (like any good performer, she has her own process), I can tell that some folks don’t quite buy what I’m trying to sell (or – as one of my Practice Kids is fond of saying – they aren’t pickin’ up what I’m throwin’ down). So it’s either that they don’t believe me, or they have a crap-ton (actual unit of measure) of hope that I’m going to be wrong this time. I sigh and smile when I see them. I also do a lot of shrugging. Eventually they succumb to the reality that I might have been right.
This is usually after Gladys has unveiled her botanical version of alopecia.
“Wait until next year, though!” I encourage. Again, it is as if I am a back alley fortune teller with an undependable neon sign. Dubiosity rules the day(s).
But then the next year comes and… just like clockwork, kaboom!
Last year was one of Gladys’ recovery years. Made sense. We were all a little stunned (and hibernating) during the spring of 2020. Though I hadn’t been keeping track, and couldn’t remember whether 2020 was going to be a Big Year for Gladys or not, once she showed her first few blooms and a day or so passed, I knew. I found myself actually appreciating that she was laying low. It felt kind of like a solidarity thing between the ladies of the house.
But this year?
Oh, I was keeping track.
Spring showed up slowly, the sun seeming to warm the soil a degree at a time. In the lands beyond The Gardens, folks were starting to feel a little better about being together. Those in charge of such things announced plans to open up the world… first a degree at a time, and then a few more (and then more).
The earliest of The Garden’s flowering plants – narcissus (daffodils), forsythia, and hellebores – began to bud and bloom just as we humans felt like we might be able, and even ready, to do the same.
And then, sure enough and right on time, Gladys’ own buds swelled until they were practically as big as the eventual flowers. One morning, they were so bright and pink that I walked over (clutching my cup of coffee) to see if they were still actually buds (they were).
But then, late on the very same afternoon, as a warm breeze blew the smell of a rain shower through the house, I stepped out onto the porch again. And…
Oh. I know.
As an introvert, I get the whole idea of needing a little extra time to recharge one’s batteries. A one woman show, like the one Gladys puts on, can take a lot out of a girl.
And I really am also digging the fact that Gladys seemed to quarantine right along with the rest of us last spring, and came out strong as things are beginning to feel more open and, more importantly, as we are beginning to reconnect with each other.
It’s been a very long year.
A very long year.
Here’s to budding… and re-blooming… at whatever pace feels comfortable…
To each of us.
Thanks for readin’.
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