A Touch of Early Spring

It stands tall, on tip-toe roots, as if it wants to kiss the sun. Its branches, crimson-dotted, stretch out wide, as if to embrace a touch of early spring – they encroach on the neighbor’s rain gutters and must be pruned now and then to prevent them scratching the tops of our cars, and now they are trying to span the gap between the sidewalk and the mailbox – perhaps, if they form a bridge, we can train a squirrel to fetch the mail for us. This is the first bloom of spring – the joyous explosion of tiny, cranberry-colored blossoms that invite the bees to share a frenzied dance on a warmish breeze. This is the bloom that proves I’ve got an idiot for a tree.


Not once, in the entire history of this tree, has this first bloom failed to herald a killing frost – if not an epic ice storm that can bring metropolitan Houston to its knees. These bright red blossoms will shrivel and die, and the tree will repeat the whole process in a few weeks. It is more reliable than the Groundhog–that hapless creature who, once a year, is dragged from slumber, his peaceful groundhog dreams popped like soap bubbles by humans on a lark, his beady eyes and tiny ears assailed by the lightning flashs of the paparazzi’s whirring cameras–only to be treated like the ultimate bearer of bad news if he flinches at his own shadow. This tree gets the last laugh, luring the bees into believing. Woe to the unwary and uninvited solicitor–our bees are excellent guardbugs, especially when they’re made to work so hard. This tree doesn’t need its own day; it drags this nonsense on for a month. Fortune agrees with the tree.

I love this idiot tree.

Fairies in My Garden?

I have discovered where solar garden lights go to die.


Or perhaps, the live oak and the empty pots have grown attached to the defunct solar lamps, and refuse to part with them. Being used to that, in his wife, my husband indulges their quirks. It could be an experiment in preparation for a DIY solar panel installation on the roof – but somehow I doubt that. At any rate, come darkness, it is truly magical out there:


That pinprick of light, just above the one in the center? That’s a fairy. Or an orb. Or a dust bunny. They grow fangs and hunt at night. That’s why you need a little monster under the bed, like Trockle, to protect you.

A Bird’s-Eye View of the Garden

That little shrub of a pepper plant I maligned so cleverly back in 2013 has grown into a small tree; it is about 5′ tall, now. Turns out it’s not a deadly black jalapeño at all; it is a pequin pepper, or bird’s eye chile pepper. Even better (and at 40,000 to 60,000 on the Scoville scale, much hotter!) than a jalapeño or serrano pepper.


So, what do you think – are the trees and peppers, fairies and bees in for six more weeks of winter?




Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; Innocents & Demons; and A New Leaf for Lyle. You can find her books on Amazon at http://amazon.com/author/hollyjahangiri. For more information on her children's books, please visit http://jahangiri.us/books.
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11 thoughts on “A Touch of Early Spring”

  1. One wonders what kind of tree it is. Is it native to Texas Region? It it a single tree genetically, or some kind of hybrid? What is the age? And could there be something local, that is affecting it?

    Answering these questions might be useful. At least to tell you why what is happening IS happening. Would it fix the poor tree? Likely not. IF it matters, you’d have to talk to an arborist. But why spend the money? If the tree is successful, that may be its “zen”.

    Me, I blame tiny little invisible aliens. They are affecting your tree.

    1. Nope, it’s just a gullible red maple. Every year, it gets punked by an early spring. Not sure of its age; we planted it sometime between 1999 and 2000, as I recall, so it’s at least 16 years old (and it was already as big around as my wrist when we planted it). I’ve had an arborist out for other things – some sort of fungal thing and a brief infestation of sapsuckers one year. She also treated it for some root thing – not a disease, but sort of like being root-bound. Since then, it has grown upward, outward, and probably down as well. It’s a lovely tree. HUGE. I don’t think we expected it to grow quite so large. I’ve stopped fighting my husband on pruning it back – don’t really want the neighbors lobbying to cut it down as it goes to play in their yards. (Actually, one next door neighbor liked it so much they planted their own, so I think we’re good on that score – they’re the ones ours likes to visit.)
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…That Time Arnold Palmer Saved the World from Alien ZucchiniMy Profile

      1. Well, it may be a WEIRD red maple, but it is a successful one.
        Does the neighbour’s tree get fooled (foiled?) the same way?)

        I’m thinking fairies or Mystic Magic Creatures now.
        The aliens are in Hollywood, anyway….

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