Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The inner side of a birch tree leaf

This one is for you, tangobaby

The world has turned green over night.
One had seen the signs: the hesitant silvery haze that draped the tree silhouettes, air thickened to the point of curdling and the spidery bones of transmitter masts cutting into the pale blue mass of an evening sky.
Spring looked coyly from behind the curtain of rain, teased small yellow flowers out of the ground. But still, it seemed to be postponing its big arrival.
Until now.
Yesterday I was running late for my train so I took a shortcut through the small park nearby. It had looked transparent for so many months:being at its outer end, one could already see the outline of the railway station, old lopsided benches scantily seeded along the way.
But yesterday for the first time in months everything was flooded by the tide of green fuzz.
Finally all the buds broke out, bursting into life. I held my face into the damp mass of leaves, their skin wrinkled and tender like the one of a new-born.
As I did so, a distant memory worked its way from the pit of my stomach into my brain.
I must have been four years old and visiting my grandparents. In the backyard of their house there was an old birch with branches hanging low. In the morning I used to snick out the house and hide there. I talked to my plush dog. I scribbled into my colouring book.
But mostly I just sat there holding my face up high, letting the old scruffy tree caress me.
And then my grandma called my name and I emerged from beneath it, bedrizzled with morning dew, with stray leaves stuck in my hair.
This time of a year I'm always haunted by childhood memories.
As if all the smells, feelings and recollections that laid brittle and lifeless during winter, thawed out at once and now hang suspended in the air.
Before long they all will evaporate in the musky heat of summer. But for now, I wander around surrounded by them.
My memory is pretty good, yet selective about how vividly to display bits and pieces of my past.
Some of them look sepia-coloured and washed-up along the edges: from a safer distance I observe faces and places long disappeared.
But some of them are so vibrant they leave me gasping with happiness. Sometimes this joy is so intense it hurts me.
But nonetheless these two or three days of a year are worth waiting for. Worth living for, for that matter.


msHedgehog said...

I love the little green leaves on young silver birch trees. It's been green here for a while; the May-tree beyond my parents' garden is turning white with flowers.

La Tanguerita said...

It has been so cold and rainy, I really might have not noticed :-)
Too busy fighting with my umbrella.
Strangely enough the cherry blossoms are withering already. For a while the landscape looked almost Japanese: bare black branches, but heaps&heaps of pink flowers everywhere.
By the way: today in the morning – when I was out jogging, I saw a little hedgehog. In fact I almost tripped over it, as it was sitting in the middle of the way, looking sleepy:-))Adorable.

tangobaby said...

Dear La Tanguerita,

The magic of a birch did you know we share a love of these trees, too?

You painted such a warm and glowing picture for me. I am still imagining you sitting under the delicate leaves, talking to your stuffed animal.

What a beautiful post. You are a gifted writer! And thank you for thinking of me...I feel like you have given me a present today.

La Tanguerita said...

Thank you, TB.You are always welcome!