Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Created for our EnJOYment
With my new view opened up, and the days now exuberantly long, it's easy to feel celebratory. And what could bring out the feelings of ecstasy and joy more than brilliant azaleas? Ho-hum, you say. What are they but bushes, right? "Stay Out da Bushes!" as Jesse Jackson famously said.
But come with me to the University of Washington's famed Japanese Garden, and you will see much more. There, in a carefully tended oasis of tranquility, are growing spheres clipped so that now, in the epitome of springtime, they become brilliant balls of magenta, scarlet and peach. Come closer. You'll see that the solid mass of shocking hue is really made up of thousands of perfect, individual flowers, each one in itself worthy of display. Together, they sound a chorus of color. Each small, seven-petaled bloom, opening like a hungry baby bird to the sun, with its arching stamens and contrasting freckles in its throat, cries out abundance. We are given more gifts than we can collect.
The rhododendron is the state flower of Washington. It grows wild, with crimson flowers that burst forth in clusters, lighting verdant fir forests. Evergreen, rhododendrons have been cultivated as front-yard favorites, and now, at the UW Arboretum, "Azalea Way" is aflame with pinks, whites, and mottled psychedelic mounds, amid periwinkle meadows of field hyacinths, fluffy dandelions, and paths of unmown grass richly and intensely green.
Enough procrastinating. Time to be bookish...but my head turns toward my window as I unsuccessfully resist the exhilarating call of spring.