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To Bloom

by ThatWriterWoman 2 years ago in camera
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A floral escape from lockdown

There is an apple tree in the garden where I live. It runs alongside the six-foot tall fence and stretches above it's end. My parents care for it, having grown it from a sapling.

Above is a picture of some blooms sprouting from it's branches taken during lockdown. They are small and rather underwhelming compared to some of the other impressive flowers the garden has to offer. Roses, marigolds and lavender adorn the garden with a plethora of light pink, deep orange and speckled violet; going as far as to shed waves of perfume across the garden whenever a breeze chooses to brush across their petals. To compare that delicate, dignified flora to this small, white, sour flower would be an insult to their fleeting beauty.

A white rose, photographed on the same day, at dusk

However, I have found a strange comfort within this apple tree during lockdown. These groups of flowers sit neatly atop gnarled branches; not stunning, but neat and clean. Then, a swelling at the base of each, indicating pollination and the promise of fruit, of plenty. I wonder if people in the past felt this comfort; people from a time where the land and the table went without the buffer of modern organisation. I wonder if, in places where the greedy hand of super-production doesn't exist, the value of green leaves and small, understated blooms such as these is felt as keenly.

The type of apple this tree grows is a 'cooking apple'. Far too bitter to eat raw but perfect for tart crumbles or pies. Perhaps my fondness for seeing these blooms stem from a child-like anticipation for warm puddings in winter. Or perhaps I associate them with family gatherings, when we branch out to get together each year over Christmas. Nevertheless, from the first green moments, to the harvested fruit, our apple tree stays with us all year.

This is what I most admire about this tree, and why I wanted to photograph it's understated beauty, it's consistency.

Lockdown in response to the covid-19 pandemic has been a time of change, awful awful change which has seen us all suffer from disconnect. Nevertheless, nature has always been there, waiting for us to return to admire it's beauty. I'm sure I cannot be the only one who has used lockdown to reconnect with the earth. Hikes, nature walks and even just a stroll to the postbox have seen me amble around. Nowhere to hurry off to leaves time to get a little lost on these wonderful walks, and time to stop and stare at each plant seen along the way. Something I see in each one is the ability to grow back and bloom again. Plants whither and, unfortunately, die all the time but they live in the continuation of their species, in the future those flowers have; futures of charm and growth.

I'm hoping that we, as our own species, can learn from what the blooms tell us. A lesson from Flora to fauna; life goes on, and healthy times will come again, bearing fruit and beauty.

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I am by no means a professional photographer. I bought a cheap camera from amazon about 8 years ago. It can photograph in 720p; which means the very bottom of what classes as high definition. Despite its shortcomings, my camera has been a nice companion to holidays and quiet moments alike. It still manages to capture minute detail. When looking at the picture above, the small fuzz texture of the leaf underside can be seen, but not sharply, forming an almost fog-like glow around the curled leaves. Next to that softness is the tough, lizard-like, texture of the tree branch, which shows what it takes to last a lifetime, as opposed to a season.

The flowers themselves are staggered, some open and inviting passing bees, others just beginning to sprout. Of those open, stamen jut out from the centre, showing fertility and pollination potential. How exciting a time spring is for flora! So busy and complex a season, so intricate pollination can be for all flowers. Something that I think about a lot.

The background is the garden fence, which I remember painting with my father. Brown paint plus one small child equals: one messy day and lots of fun! I remember thinking how tall it was, and how I could only paint the lower half, not that it proved particularly effective as my dad would kindly paint along after me; filling in the gaps. Nowadays, I can peer over the fence top and trim the apple tree when needed. We try and keep it only a foot taller than the fence at any one time, but it's a rebellious little tree that grows twice as fast when we aren't looking!

When looking at the picture, a wire can be seen jutting out from one of the branches in the background. It looks terribly artificial but has a worthy purpose. In order to grow the tree along the fence, wire supports were needed and have become part of the plant. They continue to keep the tree standing in strong winds and help to stop bending when fruit hangs heavy on its branches. Personally, I admire the wire as it shows a strange companionship between the wild and the regimented. A symbiotic relationship that demonstrates our need for nature and nature's need for us.

Despite the amateur attempt at capturing nature's elegance from an outdated lens, this picture brings me joy. I am proud to have taken it, to capture a fleeting glance at how new life continues during lockdown. That is why I want to share it, and the stories I see within it. At times like these, when powerless, it is important to listen to the past, and lessons within it. When I was painting that fence, I knew my attempts to smear more paint on myself than the wood was not perfect nor efficient, but my parents let me do it anyway, because it made me happy. Lockdown is not perfect nor efficient but the pain of it can be softened by the enjoyment of simple tasks.

Some of us feel as if we are in an early winter, a state of sleep and energy conservation that will, eventually, pass. Spring will come again, and busy times with loved ones will bloom, and so will you.

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Another group of buds from the apple tree; unopened.

I understand that a garden is a privilege to care for, and a joy to have. Some of you reading this may not have a garden, nor plants to admire. My advice is to find your nearest nature reserve or walk and get lost within it. It will do wonders for your mental health I assure you. If unable to do so, I also recommend growing some plants upon your windowsill. Your fingers will be green before you know it!

Gardening is a hobby that never stops. It's always changing and therefore, never getting old. My parents introduced me to the wonders of seeds and soil and I will always be thankful!

If nobody you know gardens, feel free to contact me for advice and support in your floral endeavours via Twitter.

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Hang in there!

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About the author

ThatWriterWoman

An aspiring female writer from the UK, 23. Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThatWriterWoman

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