Sassafras Leaves

Recently a friend posted pictures of a tree
Well, part of a tree, a very small part
Leaves, emerging from a bud
The same bud, every day
A bud on a sassafras tree
The same tree; the same bud

#phenology, she tagged the images:
The study of cyclic natural phenomena

She started with magnified pictures
As the small action required
Eventually leaving that technique behind
Day by day we watched as her photos
Documented what we saw all around us
Nature’s newness emerging

Frost said, “Nature’s first green is gold”
And, of course, he was right

As a student, I knew what I was watching
A bud, formed the summer before
Covered with scales, holding embryonic leaves
Before that, meristems and apical meristems
Leaf primordia, cell division, growth
An annual process repeated over millennia

Recognizing the science, daily I let it go
Choosing instead to just enjoy the miracle

 

16 Comments

  1. As an environmental educator, I enjoy phenology. For example, today I made the rounds and saw that my swamp milkweed had emerged from the soil. Nature is miraculous. I am glad you reveled in the sassafrass bud your friend watched unfurl day by day. I wish more of us would stop and notice. Thank sharing both the science and the awe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I take kids outside (and I go myself), I love pointing out the patterns, and I love helping them discover why something has (or hasn’t) happened. Nature is, indeed, miraculous, and I’m blessed to be able to share it and to have friends who enjoy doing the same.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You make me hopeful that others are enjoying the miracle, hopeful that if they can, they show their children, too. I liked your leading the way in your poem for us today, Tim. It’s a good way to start my day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, we need both — science and the sense of wonder/mystery. I do try to observe nature closely and appreciate its many miracles, and when I study the science behind certain phenomena it’s even better.

    Liked by 1 person

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