Early Maple Day might not be a recognized Feast Day. However in the tapestry that leads to Springtime, there begins a digression that attempts to make sense of February, which for some of us appears in the form of an obsession with defining that has an origin sometime before January, and then one morning the Early Maple puts on bloom and a seasonal sneeze begins which offers the suggestion of yet one more year on earth. You'd think Snowdrop, or Daffodil, or Dandelion would do it, but such plants express the romance of Gypsies, wanderers traveling, grubbing hoe and Mole, their struggle is more like ours and too they have a life span comprehensible to those of us who might also have wandered. We are more like comrades, because they too must foster cheerfulness. There is the give and take between us.
But not Trees, some of whom have been rooted for centuries. There is a Cypress in Tibet that is seriously estimated to be two thousand six hundred years old. There's a Sugar Maple in Ontario that's reckoned to be over five hundred years old. There's a Yew in a Church Yard in Scotland that could be over two thousand years old, maybe even five thousand years old. It's called the Fortingall Yew. It once had a girth of fifty two feet before eighteenth century hoodlums made cups and trinkets out of it to sell to those who travelled good distance to see it. And I have seen the Gingko in the Cemetery in Louisville. They get hit by storms round here, it breaks them, so they re-branch and branch again. There is something of the word in trees, they are constitution, written by the ages and by our own generations.