In my backyard, I have a gnarly old fig tree. Fig trees don't get much notice in the glamorous world of gardening, from what I see in magazines. But since I have one growing in my yard, I've been able to watch its growing cycle during the year. And I must say, I find it a very beautiful and fascinating tree.
After it drops all its leaves in the late fall, the branches are bare. They remind me of deer antlers because they are long, grey, curvy things that sometimes get moss or lichen on them. I watch them all winter and wait for spring to see the very tips of the branches start to turn green. Then tiny, perfectly formed fig leaves begin to appear at the branch tips. (The leaf at right is about 1.5" tall.) They look like glowing wands, with bright new life magically appearing out of their tips.
Day by day, the leaves increase in size. Their color is so beautiful, I like to sit underneath the tree and gaze up at the gorgeous green leaves, backlit by the bright sunlight and blue sky. The leaves form dappled green patterns against the sky, reminding me of a stained glass window, done all in greens, with the branches as the dark grey lead lines: all yellow green, lime green, neon green, grass green...LEAF GREEN!
The beauty of these leaves sent me looking through my books for a few lines of poetry from Gerard Manley Hopkins' SPRING, which sums it up so perfectly:
"Nothing is so beautiful as spring --
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush...
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth's sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden...."