Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Aspen Catkins

       I was much too busy working to notice your subtle changes.  
                                       but now I'm home,  
                  spending spring morning hours at the computer, 
                                        and there you are, 
      your leafless branches framed by the window in front of me.

       As the stubborn coolness of winter slowly marches away, 
                        I'm noticing the gradual swelling of buds 
                        from which your leaves will soon emerge.  
                                    I didn't hear it before, 
                                   but now I understand 
                          that you are the lone voice in my yard, 
                            announcing, "Spring has arrived."

                        Today these buds look plump and fuzzy, 
                               and I take the time to discover 
                                  that they are called catkins
                     derived from a Dutch word meaning kitten, 
                             because they resemble a kitten's tail.

            I didn't realize that you, my Aspen, are gender specific.  
               I am truly curious and hope to uncover the mystery: 
                                  Are you male or female?  
               All I know for the moment is that if you are a male, 
                            you are counting on these recent, 
                                  persistent March winds 
                                 to distribute your pollen.

                            So, I'm watching your catkins
                   and wonder how long the tails will grow
                            before they drop or blow away 
                          and allow your apple green leaves 
                           to open to the warmth of the sun.


  1. I learned something new today. I didn't know aspens had catkins. I thought only pussy willow trees had catkins.

    Aspen catkins aren't quite as fuzzy, but they look pretty much like pussy willow catkins.

  2. Like Dee, I didn't realize aspens had catkins. It is those tiny specks of pollen that cause my nose to twitch and run as well as sneezes to abound, so excuse me if I don't peer closer at the fuzzy catkins.

  3. Nice post! I love the way aspens look in the fall beside the dark green pines!