Oh the buzzin’ of the bees in the cottonwood trees in the merry month of May . . .

See the source image

At least, that’s how I remember the old Burl Ives folk song from my Southern childhood. Actually, the lyrics featured cigarette trees, an altogether different species that grows “where hens lay soft-boiled eggs.” The flowers do resemble small cigarettes and look rather ugly, if you ask me.

Cottonwood trees, on the other hand, are rather graceful and willowy, with heart shaped leaves and, depending upon the specific type, resemble birches or poplar trees.

See the source image

Before the merry month of May, cottonwoods produce a sweet fragrance before anything blooms in my garden. The scent wafts on the air from trees miles away, emitted by flavonoids in the sticky sap within the tree’s buds that coats the leaves of cottonwood as they unfurl, protecting them against insects eager to attack the first fresh leaves of the year.

See the source image
Photo credit: Peter M. Dziuk (2003)

When those buds burst, they shed white seed-bearing white fluffs delicate as goosedown . . .

See the source image

. . . that float as much as 20 miles on spring breezes. The seeds will sprout within 24 hours of hitting the ground.

See the source image

And if fallen fluff becomes a thick enough accumulation, the ground can look like a snow-covered garden . . .

See the source image

. . . but a good rainfall should wash away all this faux snow, I think. Fortunately, no cottonwoods grow that close to our own residential area. Nonetheless, when those first tiny will o’ wisps float around my head when I’m outside, I invariably “hear” ole Burl Ives singing in my memory.

Oh, the buzzin’ of the bees in the cottonwood trees . . .

Author: www.rosesintherainmemoir.wordpress.com

Just short of fifty years of holy matrimony, I am blessed to be a mother of two and grandmother of seven. Much of my writing speaks to the culture and tradition of the Deep South, where I spent the first thirty-five years of my life before relocating to the Pacific Northwest. As a poet and essayist, I’ve published both online and in print media. In mid-February 2019, I launched Roses in the Rain: A Daughter's Story, following a successful couple years of Invitation to the Garden, both on WordPress.com. Watch for upcoming installments to the memoir blog every Tuesday. The garden posts follow on Friday/Saturday. I look forward to hearing from you all!

3 thoughts on “Oh the buzzin’ of the bees in the cottonwood trees in the merry month of May . . .”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s