A few mild days, when it seems that spring is almost in the air (we heard a bee yesterday on our walk at Francis Point, and the common mergansers were in their courting clothes, the females swimming in a line with an equal number of males following…). In the garden, I saw a few crocuses in bloom and a broad bean, fallen from its pod and forgotten on the surface of the soil, has sprouted, which makes me think I should plant the broad bean seeds I have in the porch. Tree frogs are loud in sunlight. The planets are busy in the night sky and the other night we saw Orion stretched over our house when we came home late from a poetry reading down the Coast.
But I’m thinking of almond blossom, the abundance of it last February in Portugal. I thought I’d never seen anything as beautiful — that is, until we passed grove after grove of lemon trees, the small suns brilliant on their branches. But almond blossom, as airy and lovely as spring dresses. I think almonds arrived in Portugal with the Moors, around the 8th century, but they are perfectly suited to the landscape of the Algarve, which is where we first saw them.
And the almond-tree, in exile, in the iron age!
This is the ancient southern earth whence the vases were baked, amphoras, craters, cantharus, oenochoe, and open-hearted cylix,Bristling now with the iron of almond-trees
Iron, but unforgotten,Iron, dawn-hearted,Ever-beating dawn-heart, enveloped in iron against the exile, against the ages.
See it come forth in blossomFrom the snow-remembering heartIn long-nighted January,In the long dark nights of the evening star, and Sirius, and the Etna snow-wind through the long night.(from “Almond Blossom”, by D.H. Lawrence)