Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

A Choice to Step Outside or Not

Painting by Joyce Dutka

David Fried

The bumblebee is pulled by a thirst to pollinate flower to flower, just as her ancestors were, in an ancient dance. I reach up into the pear tree and fix my eyes on the one pear I really want to pick and bring to my daughter. I bring down three: one for each daughter and one for my wife. There is light and goodness in these pears, and I want to share this.

Just out the window is the great green world of spring. Where the winds were wailing at the wall of my window just a few weeks ago, the spring breezes are whispering to me, “Come on, come outside, let me wrap my little arms around you.”

I have choices. I can sit at my laptop screen and write to people and write new poems and stories. I can cook a meal and feed my family. I can lean back in my easy chair and read a book that I have been looking forward to.

The little light spring breeze grabs my ponytail and waltzes me right out the porch door.

I am helpless now. The ground gives to my footsteps, and I am walking up the hill in the forest behind my house. There is the witch hazel bush I planted a few years ago. It waves in the breeze but will not blossom until the autumn time. A young mulberry tree leans from side to side singing its song it has been mulling over for months now. I can only hear it when I stop and notice its young graceful beauty.

The chickadees jump and hop within the thick cedar trees that I always leave full for them. On the coldest winter days, I put my head out the window and it is just me and them way up in their miniature forest within their primeval dark green haven.

The kolomikta kiwi vines, one male and one female cover an arbor and make a very shady place to be out of the sun in the summertime. But now they are just unrolling their leaves, one at a time. Soon their vining nature will overcome all attempts to tame them. They will be reaching out and searching for a new avenue for twirling around. It could be a pole, a peach tree, my arm if I stand here too long.

Last year, I planted a very hardy Russian quince tree cultivar called “aromatnaya” which I think means “really full of fragrance.” I also planted a medlar tree. I am hoping this tree will grow strong and bring me fruit that I tasted once at a co-op food store in Brattleboro, Vermont. It looked like a little brown wrinkled soft crabapple, but it had a flower end top like a persimmon. The flavor reminded me of very good apple pie.

Climbing up on this hill where sheep and cows once roamed, I am surrounded by a few old pines and a lot of maples and poplars. When I see a rare oak, I am happy because I know this oak can feed a lot of animals with its mast . The other trees feed a lot of birds and insects too, but a cache of acorns is easier for us two- legged ones to wrap our imagination around.

I walk along the ridge now, looking at the town below, our house down there and what I have planted. I lean against a tree where I have a view of the Worcester mountains. The spring warmth rises up in the valley and the hills way beyond look like they have steam escaping from their summits.

After a long cold winter of hibernation, I am so glad I made the choice to step outside for a walk. I could have opened a bottle of wine because new research shows it helps lower cholesterol levels (from the skins in the grapes especially). But I have time for this later. I feel the warmth of this day on my forehead and on my hands. This day, this warm gift of life to be tasted and held close. I want to be wise enough to lean into it and give it something.

How many fruit trees and nut trees will I plant this spring? How many people will I show that you can plant a blueberry bush once and can harvest the fruit for thirty years? How often will I really listen and hear the person who is next to me asking me about growing, about harvesting, about life?

Each day I can be a guy that makes the world a little better. The laptop is a good place to write and to stay in touch with friends around the world. The hilltop and the treetop are a good place to be alive, breathing and dancing with the bubbling up energy I find all around me now. It is all waiting just outside the window. Come on out.

David Fried is a poet and garden writer who also grows trees at Elmore Roots Nursery in northern Vermont.

To see this article in a pdf file, as it appears in print, please click HERE.

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