Little buds covered every branch, plump and taut, like the belly of a pregnant women with an "outie" navel. You could just barely see the little flowering pedals waiting to be released from the cocoon-like covering protecting them from the early spring elements. I would guess she's at about 80% effaced using the pregnancy metaphor and 6cm dilated. It won't be long now.
It has taken 3 years for this weeping cherry to adapt to the soil and develop a root system to support its large sprawling frame. Last year, I wasn't sure she was going to make it. I had to prune off branches that were dying and late in the year I had to hack off a whole limb that lost circulation somehow over the coarse of the summer. She's an expensive replacement, so I was treating her like an ICU patient right up to the first snowfall. I wasn't sure she would brave another Michigan winter and there was only so much I could do to nurse her along.
I was waiting for spring to hear the verdict.
But a couple weeks ago when we got our first few days of warm weather, I noticed some encouraging signs of life. And as the days and weeks have progressed, I couldn't be more proud of "the little tree that could". She has not only survived, but seems to have regained full strength in her dormancy. I expect this to be the first year that we will see some new growth sprouting from its hearty and healthy root system.
I love landscaping and all things agricultural. In fact, the world of farming and/or landscaping would be my first leaning should ministry run amuck. (I don't anticipate that.) It is interesting to me that working with land and working with people are both referred to as "pastoral". So I guess either way I would be a "pastor". The similarities are striking, really.
The draw of nature runs deep inside me. I don't know as God speaks to me any clearer than when He does so through creation. The smell of thawing earth, the sight of virgin territory untouched by humans, the sounds of the surf crashing the sprawling shoreline, the dark interior of a dense wooded lot filled with aged timber and covered with a lush carpet of green ferns...these are a few of my favorite things.
But this year, I find my heart encouraged by my "weeping cherry" who need weep no more. She is well on her way to health and happiness. I'm very proud of her resolve and resilience. She brings me great joy as her pastor and husbandman.
I love spring.