"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag
Plum Trees on a Cloudy Day

Plum Trees on a Cloudy Day

From Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver:

“Finally the earth grows softer, and the buds on the trees swell, and the afternoon becomes a wider room to roam in, as the sun moves back from the south and the light grows stronger. The bluebirds come back, and the robins, and the song sparrows, and great robust flocks of blackbirds; and in the fields blackberry hoops put on a soft plum color, a restitution; the ice on the ponds begins to thunder, and between the slices is seen the strokes of its breaking up, a stutter of dark lightning. And then the winter is over….”

From “Spring, Coast Range” by Kenneth Rexroth in The Ecopoetry Anthology, edited by Ann Fisher-Wirth and Laura-Gray Street:

There are tiny hard fruits already on the plum trees.
The purity of the apple blossoms is incredible.
As the wind dies down their fragrance
Clusters around them like thick smoke.
All the day they roared with bees, in the moonlight
They are silent and immaculate.

From “Millennial Spring” by Charles Goodrich in The Ecopoetry Anthology, edited by Ann Fisher-Wirth and Laura-Gray Street:

The plum tree in full blossom —
       slower than this
                does not go.


I took the photos below on a mostly cloudy day in late February, which worked out well because whenever the sun came out, these new plum blossoms reflected the sunlight too much. With the sun filtered through the clouds, however, the flower petals showed off their truer color, even if it’s only slightly more colorful than pure white.

I had this sense — while standing beneath the plum tree, as one does — that I was surrounded in a cloud of plum-colored mist: even my hands holding the camera took on the purple/pink hue that bounced about the branches, leaves, and flower petals of this delightful tree. The leaves especially — as you can see in the pair of larger matching photos below — exhibit one of the richest colors to be found in late winter or early spring blooms. The last photo in this series — where some of the color from the rest of the tree is apparent in the background — might give you the same sense I had under the tree: that I could stand there all day, and just be like a plum!

Thanks for taking a look!


    1. Dale

      Thank you very much!

      One of the books I quoted — The Ecopoetry Anthology — is new to me. Just starting to explore it, and it’s a wonderful collection of poems about nature and environmental awareness…. I’ll write more about it soon!

      Thanks for the comment!

    1. Dale

      Thank you! The poems were a good find; the book they’re from is an excellent collection, I think you’d like it!

      The first time I found myself under one of those trees filled with bees… I remember thinking “eeks! bees!” — and starting to walk away, because, you know, STINGERS. Took a second to realize I could just stand there, and they didn’t mind at all. Now I go looking for them: bee buzz is excellent!

      Thanks for the comment!

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