In the Pink

I bought my house in February some years back, and as I drove away with the real estate agent after the first visit, I noted what looked like sticks growing out of the ground – bare branches of small trees planted in no particular order in the middle of the lawn. The acre of land that was to be mine, surrounded by winter and woods, looked hapless against the blustery, gray sky.

Come May when I moved in, I was greeted by a series of visual surprises. A bounty of yellow and white and orange daffodils sprang up in one corner of the backyard. A virtual wall of thick and golden forsythia ran the length of a football field down my drive. There were peach blossoms and plum blossoms, lavender-colored weeping blossoms, pear blossoms, purple crocuses, and tulips with a red stripe.

But the delight by the middle of May made my jaw drop and my spirit jump. The entire width of my front yard morphed into a galaxy of pink blossoms two hundred and fifty feet wide. Cherry trees. Three full-grown Kwanzan ornamentals perfectly planted in a row, in bloom. It looked like Mother Nature had thrown me the party of a lifetime.

I stood under the bursting confection and felt like I was in a wave of pink, thirty feet high. I looked sideways down the row from each side, took photographs from every angle, flapped paintbrushes of pink paint onto a blank page. I napped on a blanket under the sloping cherry tree boughs where I dreamed of Japanese cherry blossom festivals with rice balls, sake, and silk kimonos. I set two Adirondack chairs underneath the display and sat there in all kinds of light.

At first the blossoms held strong against the wind as a rich, dark pink underscored the tableau. A couple of petals floated on the breeze and landed like ballerinas on the green lawn. After some days had gone by, the rich pink faded to a soft pastel and the petals became weak. They loosened themselves to any suitor and whirled in great numbers along any current of air, causing a marvel of pink-colored wind. Pools of pink petals collected in the saddles of the boughs like a rich butter icing before the pink plethora became a generous dusting of pink lace across the cool grass.

As alchemically as it had appeared, the pink performance came to an end – within a week. All that remained were the branches and their green, pointed leaves with rust-colored tips. The Adirondack chairs were returned to the porch. The paintings and photographs got filed away. My pulse went back to normal. My breathing slowed. And the vigil began: fifty-one weeks until the pink would return.

All year, now, I think about the return of pink and hope spring storms won’t blow the blossoms away too quickly. I live in admitted anticipation of this pink profusion, the highlight of my garden, this visual vacation, this momentary burst of gorgeousness, this ecstasy of pink, pink, pink – with me happily in it.