Monday, March 15, 2010


The photos on my friend Janie’s blog today are just TOOOO good to miss!!! They’re of Bradford pears, in the Southern season so far ahead of our own. There are two trees down the block from us, and we stroll down almost daily to check their progress, for the display is fleeting, from bare limbs one day, to swelling buds, to the tightly-furled little blossoms like the bouquets of avant-garde brides, whose flowers are exotically-named unbloomed peonies imported from Belgium or Holland or other flowery places, towering over guests in their matching vases set upon chartreuse cloths. For the bride, they’re clutched into nosegays wrapped with gossamer silks and satins of taupe. They’re captured by all the smart photogs, held against mortgage-weight dresses, against the edgy walls of rusting buildings, carried on a tandem bike by a bride in blue shoes.

These full-blown blossoms are more like the bouquets of today’s Southern brides, with lush cascades of Spring’s promise, and like the luxuriantly luxurious arrangements of whole limbs of blossoms in vases and buckets and urns set on Battenburg or quilts, humble and so vastly great they elude the telling.

They evoke stretches of green lawn, tents of billowing tulle, big bowls of lemonade and Sweet Tea, Sweet-Potato Biscuits and Ham and vast trays of melon, bespeaking the open-handed hospitality of a Summer afternoon.

As the time of bursting comes, that season-in-a-day when the force that through the green fuse drives the flower---I wish that the time for watching could be like that wonderful Disney film, back when Disneyland was on Sunday nights, and was one of the few “color” programs. It was called “Nature's Half Acre,” or some such evocative name. With the magical processes of the time-lapse cameras, you could watch the puffing of the bare buds, then their bursting forth into the most charming flowers, right before your eyes. I considered that the “best movie” I’d ever seen, for years and years. Perhaps it still is.

The pear-blooms cover the trees like an ice-storm, crusting the bare limbs in magic, a snowfall of the most delicate, the most ethereal of petals, each different, each unique, with the punch of tiny red and burgundy anther-hearts center-pulsing with the ongoing life of the plant. I think of each one of those tiny stem-tips as promise-of-pear, marveling at the amount of fruit that tree would produce, could it bring every bloom to fruition. A tree could feed a city, I think, were there a way to hold up all that vast weight until the ripening.

I marvel every day at the magical skills of Janie’s lens---she captures the most ethereal and the most weighty moments in the South, from the temporary of a pear blossom to the lengthy wither of a centuries-old barn, melting into the earth. What she does and how she does it are unexplainable---the light and clarity and sheer artistry of her work are amazing.

This is set to go straight to that post, so the blossoms will still appear, even though the date has passed. However, you'll be so mesmerized, you'll just keep looking and looking, at every one of her posts. They're that wonderful.


Merisi said...

I came over from Janie's blog!
I agree, her images are magical. They are so beautiful and full of light that I want to throw my camera into a ditch because I cannot imagine ever reaching her height of artistry.

racheld said...

I'm delighted to see you, Merisi!!

Isn't it amazing the qualities and colors and light which become the hallmark of each person who photographs Mississippi? Almost every one has a different perspective and lighting and angle, and the several I look at most are true artists at their craft.

Southern Lady said...

Rachel, thank you (and Merisi) for your kind and gracious words. Words fail me to express how much your encouragement and appreciation of my adventures and explorations in the world of photography mean to me.

Maggie McArthur said...

Beautiful photography and blossom-like prose to match.

Kim Shook said...

Did Bradford pears just burst onto the botanical scene in the early 1990's? I don't ever remember seeing them before we lived in Indiana and now they are everywhere. I love the budding and the 'snowing' parts best!