Sunday, March 27, 2011

Loveliest of Trees

In my senior vocal recital at Penn State in 1967 there was a song titled, "Loveliest of Trees" by John Duke,  a setting of the poem by A. E. Housman.  I had occasion to recite that poem last night before dark as Kathy and I drove to our favorite local restaurant, Spiro's, for dinner.

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with snow 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 woodland I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

I walked out this morning about 7:30 to take this picture before the snow melts away.  This specimen tree is just up the street from us.  It's probably one of the most beautiful sights in the neighborhood.

The morning began with a feast of beautiful sights, the early sun streaming through Kathy's white curtains.  Steve and Tim finished their part of the six-month remodel project last Wednesday.  Kathy and I have been continuing with odd jobs that are within our respective skill sets.  Today I'll finish painting the wall beneath our new set of safe stairs to the basement.

We had the bedroom window enlarged so that we could enjoy the view of the gardens we will develop in the back yard along the shore of Hidden Lake.

Our own cherry tree stands next to "Boone's Dock."  You can't tell by looking at the water that we've been visited by a squadron of ducks named Northern Shovelers.  We had never seen such ducks before and had to get out the bird book to identify them.

This was the view as I walked down the hall to open the door to the basement and let the cats come up.  We had that opening widened so that we could enjoy the sight of the dining area and kitchen, including our Hubbarton Forge light over the table and our special pendant lights over the island.

We painted two of the living room walls a "cinnamon swirl" color to show off the dark beams.

When we bought the house, the ceiling matched the beams, as did the far wall, and the room felt somewhat like a cave.  Painting the ceiling cream was my big November project.

The "butter pecan" walls make a good, neutral background for our Santa Fe Opera posters and various  watercolors.  Kathy's design called for an enlarged window on either side of the fireplace.  When she added the curtains two weeks ago, the whole character of the room became gentle.

As I entered the dining room this morning, I saw how the reddish light enlivened the reddish wood of the deck we hope to replace some time this year.  The wood is worn out, and nothing about the construction stirs confidence.  We do not take the view of the lake for granted.  The presence of waterfowl is a year-round attraction.

Outside as Lola the Poodle and I walked back from taking a picture of the cherry hung with snow, I decided to record the view of a slope that will be a riot of daylily bloom this summer if all goes well.

I hope the two trees you see here will be gone by then.  The Sweetgum on the left is one of the champion nuisance trees, dropping thousands of thorny seed balls on the lawn every year.  The Silver Maple on the right is an accomplished breaker in heavy wind.  Why is it that the fastest-growing trees are also usually the least welcome?

These are some of my daylilies in pots along the driveway just outside the garage.  I moved 140 of my selected seedlings over here during a warm spell three weeks ago and have washed and potted half of them.  The rest are in bags in the garage waiting for favorable washing weather.  I'm cleaning them well because I don't want to transfer the runners of bindweed from my other garden over to this one.

Tomorrow I'll pick up another case of pots at Hummert's and be ready for any clear day with a temperature near or above 50 degrees with no for plant-washing.

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