Apple trees in April: thunderstorms, raindrops and moss

by Danielle Charles

Last night, that very special sort of warm breeze blew in – you know the one. It is the breeze of movement, of force, of transformation – its identity as unmistakable as the voice of a dear friend.  The air it blew was heavy and warm and charged with energy – I could feel it. As it’s force began picking up speed, a sort of thick trance fell over everything: the prelude of a thunderstorm.

It always startles me – how for a moment you forget that such weather was ever absent – as though winter was just a long dream and you’ve awoken again to find all the familiarity of warm sunshine, thunderstorms and crickets. But then the magnitude of it all sinks in – this is a Spring wind!  This is the feeling of Spring beginning! Winter, though it may stage another hopeless attack or two, has lost the battle at last.

Today the thunder storms rolled in one after another. I was just ecstatic. The light dimmed, the rain poured on the roof until I couldn’t hear a thing, the thunder rolled through and the lightning flashed brilliantly. I peered out the window and literally saw the snow disappearing before my eyes in the flashes of lightning as the little stream next to the house grew wilder and wilder, nearly bursting its banks.

After a few glorious hours, the last of the system passed, the earth seemed to breathe a sigh of release and a hazy light reappeared behind layers of steel grey clouds. Birds started singing again and flitting around so I rendered it safe enough to head out and explore. The ground was so saturated that the water was actually forming little rivers atop the grass, and every step slushed under my boots with a glorious release of earthy perfume. I was drinking it all in like a parched explorer come upon an oasis in a desert. Oh how I have missed seeing the grass! (Although I must say, the rest of my exploration party did not half so much enjoy the squish of water under their paws…)

When my eyes came upon the apple trees, I stopped dead in my tracks. They are mossy like most aged apple trees tend to be, but the moss was absolutely glowing in the hazy light – as though illuminated of its own light. It was magnificent and unreal.

 

And it wasn’t just that there was moss, there were so many kinds of moss – moss and lichen of every color, texture and shape you could imagine:

The rain had also polished the wood, bringing out its curves, textures and palette of swirling browns in the most beautiful of ways:

I thought this patch of smoothness on the trunk, where the bark had been stripped away, looked rather like a sad bear or maybe a pig, not quite sure which:

And then the sun came out for a moment, and caught all the glittering raindrops hanging along the branches like delicate glass beads:

It seemed as though those apples had bedecked themselves in their finest attire to greet the coming of spring in fullest splendor, do you not agree?

I remember a teacher once telling me how very generous the apple tree is – they give the beauty of the their flowers in the spring, their shade in the summer, their apples in the fall. But even when they stop producing fruit, they still provide a home to a myriad of creatures – moss, lichen, worms, birds, insects, and of course, little white cats:

Happy spring to you all!