Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Welcome, Fair Stranger

May is certainly a month to relish as the freshest shades of green surround a rainbow of pastel blossoms opening up and welcoming spring as I walk, each morning, along the country roads here in Western Loudoun County.  While the cherry blossoms have all but gone away and the dogwood trees begin to leaf out, even the lilacs are giving way to the blooms of warmer weather, the gently bowed heads of wisteria flowers reflect calm and balance to a world that seems to be hurrying along.  Front yards and roadsides are graced with the white, purple and pink chandelier earring-like blossoms decorating these elegant vines that, over time, can grow into frilly bushes and trees spilling over with lacy petals.

These enchanting blooms dangle effortlessly on seemingly never ending and always twisting vines.  They embody warmth and welcome and playfulness and in the language of flowers, wisteria symbolizes the beginning and beauty of spring--Welcome fair stranger!  Wisteria vines braid themselves up the sides of trees as well as attach to any willing trellis, pole or side of house in dramatic fashion and freely share their lovely fragrance with every passerby.

Wisteria is a genus of flowering plants in the pea family (Fabaceae).   This woody climbing vine is  native not only to the Eastern United States, but also China, Korea and Japan and quite often depicted in Oriental art.  In Feng Shui, blue and purple wisteria flowers represent balance and calmness by creating harmony in mind, body and spirit.  So, even though their delicate beauty makes them appear fragile, they are a resilient flower that stands up against the unpredictable forces of springtime weather.

I am fortunate to have a pink wisteria growing on an arbor in the front of my home.  It has taken its own sweet time, over the years, to mature and bloom as it would stubbornly turn green without rewarding me with any flowers, almost as if to say, "Wait, the best is yet to come. Just wait."  This type of coy behavior can be very common as it is often that a wisteria can take years to produce its first blooms. In this case, it took over 12 years!   However, seeing the soft chains of pink petals poking and then cascading through tangle of leaves has now made waiting, all of those years, worth it as this fair flower, a herald of spring, announces its presence.

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