blossom blossom

Last autumn a large branch was cut down from the cherry tree. Throughout the winter months it lay on the ground.

Spring came and I decided to remove the branch. I dragged it by the stump, out of the garden and into the back of the car.
I slowly drove to the studio, twigs jerking up and down in the rearview mirror.

I pulled the branch out of the car, up the steps and through the entrance into the large room where I work. I locked the door and stood for a moment.

The branch lay inert in the middle of the wooden floor. I knelt down and breathing the heavy smell of damp, looked at it carefully.

Four weeks passed. Small buds were emerging from the ring shaped cracks in the bark, thin layers of tightly folded petals pushing beneath the shiny surface of the cusps. I looked for a bucket, filled it with water and propping the upper limbs against the easel, stood the branch in it. Then I waited.

One morning, mid-April, I opened the studio door, overwhelmed to find the branch thick with blossom. It had reached full flower and was filling the room with a sweet vanilla-like fragrance.

Ten days later the petals had dropped and lay scattered beneath the branch. The water in the bucket was giving off a stale smell, clusters of algae clinging to the wet bark. Between the empty flower stems, bunches of frail leaves were still straining to unfurl.

I was the only one present to see the branch blossom.
Mingled with the daily news, the image lingered.
I began to paint.