Thursday, March 1, 2007

The willow in the window

A few weeks back I was crawling along in some thicket in a seepy place near some spring on some overgrown hillside and I was stopped by the lovely sight of a dearly familiar bark. Warty ridges of tan and golden rose up like flanked pillars up a fat, thumb-sized, sapling trunk.

Willow! I have a long and close relationship with willow and I broke off a twig and inhaled deeply. As it always does, it caused a videotpe of memories to play across my closed eyelids. I was again on the shifting river bank of the whitewater river in Franklin county, Indiana. Hunts Poorly was there, examining rocks and I was hunting a bird with my camera who was skipping through the willow thicket, his little feet stirring up the fragrance of the late summer willow leaves that had fallen around the saplings like a blanket on the river gravel.

Another whiff and I was on a muddy island spit of Cordel Hull resevoir of the Cumberland river in Jackson county. The water was making lapping sounds against my beached canoe as I sat under the swaying willow branches in the hot sun, trying to focus my camera on a darting dragon fly perching on a marsh mallow flower, sweat and sun sparkles in my eyes.

Back in the thicket, I stuck the willow twig in my hat and forgot about it till later in the kitchen, when I stabbed it down into a pot of dirt in the kitchen window that once held a frost-bit basil plant that had given up the cause.

A few days back, I noticed, that I had not noticed, that it had rooted and sent out lovely bright green lance shaped leaves. Daily now the noonday sun illuminates them, that bright willow green and brings a sigh of spring to the dishwashing.

How many years have I stuck willow cuttings in the window sill? How many years have I planned to expand my willow collection past the native ones and start a few clumps of english basket willow, the better to make real baskets? One year, I went as far as getting a couple of english basket willow cuttings from a friend and stuck them in the margins of a yard that was lost in divorce.
It was decided then, that this is the year to do it. To just go ahead and do it. Follow my willow dreams.
This is the year to start the english basket willow plantation, or, anyway, a few clumps, certainly not enough to rename the farm.
The place to start is Willow Dreams farm (no kidding, that is the name)
Meantime, I had some wonderful fun looking at the photos and lovely website of Dunbar Farms


Whaledancer March 3, 2007 at 8:50 AM  

My grandmother had a big weeping willow in her wet back yard. A messy ol' tree but lovely shade and fun whips to play with. I do love willows for their gentle femininity and amazing versatility.
Good luck and willow happiness to you and your plantation.

steve June 17, 2007 at 10:43 PM  

Steve here from Dunbar Gardens. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos on my website. I have a photo of a Ruby crowned Kinglet who was flitting about in our basketry willows on my 'birds on the farm' page. Ever get any willow cuttngs planted? Cool blog!

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