One of the best unexpected discoveries about the house we live in was the cluster of locust trees out back. We didn’t know what we were in for in our first spring, and didn’t know what they were called for the first year or two. For roughly one glorious week in late May or early June, the trees they originally planted 30 or so years ago explode into deep pink/magenta flowers, and the “volunteer” trees that grew so easily after the first ones will do the same albeit with pure white flowers and the vicious thorns on the branches that the ones from the nursery had had bred out.

The fragrance is beautiful, the flowers are beautiful, the tropical green leaves are beautiful, and when the wind slows enough, you can hear the constant hum of bees during the day. At dusk you can see hummingbird months (and hummingbirds) getting the last of the day’s nectar, and come fall, we always find that the branches were home to several bird families through the year.

They’re on the south side of the house, and being deciduous, they provide blessed shade in the summer and allow ample light to pass in the winter months after they’ve shed their leaves.

Although it’s easy to wish they were with us throughout the year, the flowers themselves don’t last for more than a week, maybe 8 days total if you count the early bloomers and the late starters. By the time the last blossoms open, the first ones have started to fall, and the pink flowers become dense purple confetti that swirls into the various corners even while most of the blossoms are still thriving on the tree. You find little piles of them everywhere, even on the opposite side of the house where it seems unlikely the wind could blow them.

Sometimes I wonder if these trees aren’t the perfect allegorical plants for describing a human life. Not because of the brief flowering or the explosion of beauty or the ‘enjoy the moment’ Hallmark card stuff, mostly because you could play “Purple Rain” while you were trying to explain it and it would sort of make sense.

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