One of my favorite spring flowering trees is the redbud. We had been living in this house for about eight months when one spring morning, while I was sitting on the front porch drinking coffee and trying to erase the cobwebs of sleep from my brain, I looked up and saw these pinkish-purple blossoms on the tree near the porch. I was ecstatic! I had no idea we had a redbud tree until the blossoms emerged. Not only that, as I walked around the house, I discovered we had not one, but two redbuds!
Certainly there are prettier blossoming trees, but I like the airy jolt of bright color it provides among the pastel hues of showier flowering trees. It is also usually one of the first to bloom, making it one of the first true signs of spring to me. I'm always a little sad when the purple blossoms change to green leaves; it's not that magnificent of a tree then. But since my redbud also holds my hummingbird feeder, this tree gets a lot of attention from me all summer long.
Coconut enjoys bird watching from his vantage point under the redbud.
I have been busy all week; I'd like to say it's because I've been outside planting and digging. But I'm afraid that hasn't been the case. In between several days of subsitute teaching, I have been cleaning, cleaning, and de-cluttering, trying to make my house spotless (well, presentable is a better word) for a get-together at my house tonight. My guests will be a group of old friends, teaching colleagues for more than 30 years. We meet for lunch on a semi-regular basis, but our favorite time is our annual celebration of Arbor Day.
Arbor Day is actually a much older holiday than Earth Day. A Nebraskan, who thought his treeless state needed some trees planted, first came up with the idea in the 1800's. The idea spread to other states, and in 1872 the fourth Friday in April was proclaimed as National Arbor Day. Other countries also observe Arbor Day, although in many countries, as well as some states in the US, the date may be different to coincide with the best tree-planting time.
Before you begin to admire my friends and me as true nature lovers, our motives for celebrating this day are far from noble. I'm not sure when our annual tradition began, at least 25 years ago, but its beginnings were pretty mundane. I think we were having one of our occasional TGIF gatherings when people started toasting. Running out of ideas for a toast, someone looked at their calendar, looking for a holiday, and made a toast to Arbor Day. From these humble beginnings our annual tradition began.
Over the years our celebrations have ranged from impromtu get-togethers to more elaborate affairs, complete with T-shirts and yes, even planting a tree. This year I've made a tag for each person to wear with their favorite tree on it. Beyond that, I'm not sure what we will do to honor Arbor Day. But I do know we'll toast some trees, tell a lot of old stories, and laugh hysterically as we remember all the good times we've had.
I'll tell you all about it in a couple of days...