|Wild plum blossoms|
The wild plums are blooming now and their fragrance is wonderful. I enjoy walking through the part of the yard where they grow and experiencing their blossoms with several of my senses.
Wild plum blossoms always remind me of my childhood on a ranch in Rock County, Nebraska. , Wild plums grew in the shelter belt north of our house. We came through that "tree-pen" (as we called it) often as we walked home from school, and when the wild plums were in bloom, we brought my mother a bouquet of plum blossoms.
My mother didn't mind our massacre of those little plum trees because she never picked plums there anyway. The plums in the shelter belt had very sour yellow fruit. We all greatly preferred the wild plums from our pastures in northern Loup County -- sweet red plums.
Tonight after the sun was completely down, I went out to the plums in our yard for a few minutes to see what their blossoms are like after dark. (I know this may seem odd, but I'll explain shortly.) The fragrance is just as sweet with a bit of night dew on the petals . There wasn't much natural light on the plums due to cloud cover and the new moon, but they were illuminated a little from the distant yard light. The white blossoms were the only part of the little trees that were visible. One might imagine they were floating in the air.
Why was I curious about their appearance at night? This 1923 poem, by Oreck Johns:
THEY are unholy who are born
To love wild plum at night,
Who once have passed it on a road
Glimmering and white.
It is as though the darkness had
Speech of silver words,
Or as though a cloud of stars
Perched like ghostly birds.
They are unpitied from their birth
And homeless in men's sight,
Who love, better than the earth,
Wild plum at night.
By Orrick Johns. Published in The New Poetry: An Anthology of Twentieth Century Verse in English. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1923. The MacMillan Company, New York, 1923.
Related post: Bud and twig of American wild plum