In Which I Stand in Front of Many Trees

We couldn’t stand being inside another minute now that nice weather is upon us, so we grabbed keys and camera and headed into Boston. First stop was in Dorchester for some banh mi (it’s been a while!). And since we were mostly in the neighborhood, we bought extra and decided to make a special banh mi delivery for someone who’s recently made a special delivery of her own. Yes, this is Tanya Jr, also known as Hannah. Isn’t she absolutely beautiful? I sure appreciate her fashion sense.

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After we finished making a nuisance of ourselves, we carried on to our original destination, Arnold Arboretum. Which we’ve photographed maybe fifty times now. I’m so terribly sorry that you have to endure it again.

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Not all of you who read this are in New England. So tell me: does the rest of the country experience a perfect explosion of forsythia about this time of year? Do clouds of yellow descend on all the lawns and cheer you up in time for mud season? I don’t know what we’d do without it, frankly.

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Last year about this time we were in Washington DC checking out the cherry blossoms. I believe they were a little late down there this year, and spring is certainly slow getting started here. We do have big bursts like the ones below, but the green is still taking its time.

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Back to more forsythia. Sometimes you see it in manicured little bushes, but I really prefer untamed beasts like this one. The trick (and it’s not one I understand, so don’t ask me) is you have to trim it at the right level so it gets nice and bushy like this. I suppose it’s controlled chaos.

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I am only in this one for scale, of course.

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Part of our mission for wandering the Arboretum is we’re trying to figure out how to handle landscaping a yard from scratch. What do you do when there is absolutely nothing? No grass, no trees, no requisite rhododendron? Do you go with native plants like these mountain laurel? Or is anything that will grow in Zone 6 fair game? What the heck grows in Zone 6? I have no idea what I’m doing.

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One thing we won’t have is magnolias. They are magnificent until the moment it rains and suddenly these voluptuous petals turn to brown mush underfoot, and the whole place is slick and gooey.

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I think a long winter turns me into a bark connoisseur. Sycamores, birches, papermaples all suddenly seem terribly interesting when there are no leaves to look at.

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But really, don’t you think the trunks and branches alone are beautiful? Sure, they’ll be nicer once they’re crowned, but this guy looks as if he’s in motion, even in this still photo. It’s as if he’s struggling in an urgent wind all the time.

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Yes, I did tree pose with this tree. Yen said after, “You’re supposed to put your foot on your other leg, you know.”

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A lot of these flowers have cropped up around the Arboretum. I don’t know what they are, but maybe we should all stuff bulbs down into the grass so in the spring we’ll get surprises like this. Don’t the first crocuses make you smile?

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I know cherry trees are a big deal, but for my money, it’s a plum.

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This enormous beast is a silver maple. I don’t have any idea what caused it to twist as it grew, but it goes on all the way up.

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Boston had a pretty rough week, as I’m sure you know. It was an unbelievably long one; there’s no way only five days stretched from the bombs at the Marathon to staying indoors Friday and watching police patrolling up and down past one of our favorite sushi restaurants. As we walked through the Arboretum, we had the feeling that everyone else had felt the same tug to come outside and breathe the fresh air. The couple in this photo were sitting and just laughing at each other’s jokes over and over. It probably wasn’t all that funny, but I imagine it felt really good.

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Sometimes I just wrestle the camera away and photograph the photographer. He is a rare beast and can only be spotted in the wild.

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Right after this photo, you’re supposed to see a lot of photos of bonsai trees. But alas, the little bonsai house was in lockdown as it had just struck 4 o’clock when we made our way back here. The little house is locked and alarmed at 4pm. Alarmed! We were pretty disappointed. As we walked way, Yen remarked that maybe he would get a bonsai in order to ensure a legacy. I told him he’s making an awfully strong assumption that he’ll be able to find an heir to care for it.

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Not quite Inca quality, but a nice wall just the same.

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That’s about a full afternoon right there. It should only be a few short weeks before I fill a post with photos of lush green and more flowers. We’ll keep making our visits to all of the usual spots as we wait for it. And I’ll try to invent something interesting to say next time. This time I believe my creative juices failed to flow because they are just getting unstoppered after a long winter. I hope it’s over for good.

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