On Cherry Trees, Nanny McPhee, and Zombie Litigation

Apr 24 2012

It’s my favorite time of the year.

Not to be confused with my other favorite times of the year which include the first day of summer, the first day of school, Christmas break, the first day back at school after Christmas break, Spring break, the first day back at school after Spring break, and any sunny day in the Pacific Northwest.

But this – this – is the cherry tree time of the year.

The cherry trees that line the back of our property are overgrown and more than a little gnarly. Spindly and towering 30 feet tall, they’re absolutely nothing like the manicured trees in Washington DC and Japan, and their summer fruit will be all pit and no flesh as though they simply cannot be bothered with such mundane tasks as food production.

But I love them, I do, for the shade they provide and for their resilience and especially for giving me snow in April.

Not real snow, of course. But after the blossoms all bloom… way, WAY too high for us to really see them… there comes a time when they shed their flowers in favor of leaves. And that’s the week in April when the flurries of white float down with every breeze or rustle of a robin’s wings.

I sit outside on my back porch if the weather allows, like it did this week, and I revel in clean air that fills itself with petals.

It’s stunning and special and it feels like a private little show just for me.

My kids know I love this time of the year.

“Look, Mom!” they yell. “Your trees are snowing again!”

And then my kids show me how much they respect my cherry blossom reverence by letting me sit quietly with my coffee and breathe it all in.

Just to be clear, I sometimes confuse “letting me sit quietly,” with hearing legal arguments about who ran into whom with a bicycle – or who slammed whose head into the lawn during the wrestling that seems to be inherently required if one is born with a penis – or who promised that she would climb a tree with her brother and broke that promise again – and, of course, whether the prosecution should consider premeditation an important factor when bringing their charges to court. (“It was an accident!” and “But you hurt me!”) But I find that “letting me sit quietly” is such a lovely little untruth that I like to tell it to myself as often as possible.

Yesterday evening, our good weather stint was coming to an end. The wind was stirring, bringing gusts with the breezes, and more of the petals tumbled down.

As Greg ushered the kids into the house, I took a few extra minutes to walk the path behind our house and greet the coming of the storm.

The skies turned grey.

It became the kind of evening where I was sure, if I squinted just right, I’d be able to see Nanny McPhee and Mary Poppins gliding along with their umbrellas on the wind, linked arm in arm, talking shop and giggling over their most recalcitrant charges.

It was somehow expectant. And mysterious. And like nature invited me to be part of something rather lovely and grand.

I turned around to come home, and I paused at the cherry tree line to look at my home with its bikes and bubbles, art projects and rubbish bins, endless messes and chores, and no nanny in sight. And I saw the cherry blossoms covering it all like sprinkles.

The warm light beckoned me inside where I settled down for a peaceful evening listening to kidlets present legal briefs on whether a Zombie enemy is technically conducting himself in good faith if he keeps inventing unauthorized roles, like Rock, and yelling, “I’m Rock! I’m Rock! You can’t beat me because I have no brain!”

Aahhh.

This – this – is my favorite time of the year.