When is the season of the sycamores?
Spring is not the season of sycamores when their new leaves push forth, slowly, slowly. They’re easily out done by red bud and dog wood, daffodil and crocus, and by lilac double-blessed with splash of lavender and wild fragrance. The flower of the sycamore is not very showy; it’s easy to miss it altogether. Spring is not the season of sycamores.
Summer sycamores do not impress, although they lavish shade, unasked, and the eagles seem to haunt the spreading branches like summer dreams. But every tree grants cooling shade, and sycamores blend in like my friend Mary with the mouse brown hair. When her mother died, and she stood in the receiving line with her eleven siblings, she overheard one mourner murmuring, “I didn’t remember they had a Mary.” If she had known Mary in the season when I knew her, she would have remembered. Mary was a sycamore.
Autumn is not kind to sycamores. Their leaves drop early, as brown and ragged as roadside grass after a long, hard winter. Homeowners grumble, raking piles of enormous, brittle leaves, disentangling them from bushes where they’ve blown like last week’s litter. Otherwise, no one notices the sycamores amid the splash and glory of maple and birch. The only statement sycamore leaves make with their color is “we are dead.”
And then winter blows in with a nor’easter, and beauty disappears, apparently hibernating with the whole wooded world beneath the frozen earth. Snow sparkle doesn’t linger, and the landscape fades to gray. Winter dawdles, and everyone is weary of the cold, the drab scenery, the wild wind.
The world is paused, frozen, between winter and spring.
This is the season of the sycamores.
There they stand.
Mottled bark catches the sun’s least ray and offers tired eyes a bouquet of light.
Long, strong arms reach toward the sky, pulling the radiance down into our shadowed, dreary world.
they add depth and dignity to ordinary days.
They are quietly "there" making a difference simply by being present.
Look for them,
these quiet sentinels,
offering the world peace and presence
even on the bleakest days.
Watch for the sycamores.