Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

If against April's Bluest Backdrop, Each Tree a "Living Sculpture"

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

If against April's Bluest Backdrop, Each Tree a "Living Sculpture"

Article excerpt

then he, an attentive shepherd, tall staff pruner guiding us, clipping

twigs from Quercus velutina, Black Oak,

dispersing and waving tasseled blooms, "full of pollen," for us to touch,


smell with child-like amusement, as if they were ornate

French Provincial tassel-fringes filled with gold,

hanging from an emerald bedspread,

mingled with infantile silvery leaves covered with silken hairs.

"Migration is connected to trees."

Migratory birds come back in April to feed on protein-caterpillars,

necessary for mating. And of the wind "a primordial pollinator"

along with insects -bats-birds. His lordly tongue rolling Latin vowels,

identifiers, which matched their more common household names.

Half-native, Magnolia x soulangiana, Saucer magnolias,

impressively swaying pink and purple blossoms, reaching beyond

our heights of admiration at arboretum's entry way, and his yanking

a full bloomed flower's petals - with silliness - "she loves me,

she loves me not," ending on a half-broken petal note "she loves me"

jokingly "well, she half loves me and is half angry with me."

Prunus subhirtella, a Higan Weeping Cherry,

one he planted when an inner stem declined. Defined it as a

"scion," rooting inside another trunk. Now beautifully

mature and richly elegant, a bride or maybe a mysterious lover,

at hill top wearing a flowing flowering gown, tips of bending

whispers brush across a sacred and enchanted ground.

Ginkgo biloba, Ginkgo, dating back at least sixty-eight

million years, during spring it does not yet have its numerous

fanny yellow leaves. It grows as both sexes; the females take

fifteen to twenty years to flower and have the stink of rotting flesh

as autumn fruit. Smiling, his satisfyingly mischievous smile, he

tells us how along Germantown Avenue in elite Chestnut Hill,

the city (Philadelphia] bought and planted what they believed to be

male Ginkgos (the ones without fruit]. Well, fifteen years later

they were proven wrong! We laughed with him, envisioning shoppers

upturned noses, their sophisticated dissatisfaction,

that God awful smell.

Then he peeled a raw seed like a miniature egg,

discarding its papery covering,

before biting into it. "They're good for you, taste better roasted."


shamefully, the rawness on the ground "Rumored aphrodisiacs;

maybe I'll get lucky tonight."

Cucumber Magnolia, Magnolia acuminate, his punning on

"The Lion King's" Hakuna Matata, laughing and then praising,

this "Native" and "Perfect flower, simple leaf," whose petal

we all felt. Leathery, pale yellow, engorged with water from our

extremely wet-winter-weather. Woody capsule seed pods touching

veins of his palm. Fully mature, blossoming tall native, erect

posture, breathtakingly beautiful stature.

Carya ovate, Shagbark Hickory, reach of pruner, clip of twig,

asking a strong-burly man to try and break it! …

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