Spring here is in constant evolution, as it is anywhere else, so it’s slightly silly to talk about it at all, considering that by the time you read this, things will have changed. A few of the earliest (and therefore best) highlights are already gone, making way for subsequent highlights, and so on till we get to summer, which would probably like to have highlights except that the heat and humidity kind of destroy them. Or at least destroy my will to notice or care about them.
When we lived at the other end of the city, near Santa Marta, my spring herald was a small weeping willow tree that drooped over a brick wall bordering the rio di Tre Ponti (canal of Three Bridges). Its first minuscule leaves created the faintest conceivable film of pale tea green, or pale celadon, or pale eau de nil, or pale honeydew melon, or probably a combination of all of these. Maybe I should call it “pale first leaves of weeping willow” green.
I would check up on this little tree as if it were on probation. But all my watching didn’t reveal its very best moment, I’m sure, because the tree always seemed to leaf too fast. I suspect it was working at night, like an illegal Moldovan bricklayer. In any case, it passed its exquisite birth stage and grew up far too quickly for my taste. It should have lasted just two days longer and I’d have been happy. But no.
Now we live at the other extreme of the city — as of everything else — and instead of a willow tree my heralds are one little plum tree, and a whole slew of blackbirds who seem to be able to sing everything up to Elizabethan motets.
There are also the flying heralds: I’ve seen scatterings of bees, of course, and unexpected little apprentice herald showed up today in the form of a roaming fly that buzzed through the house. He seemed to be on some sort of reconnaissance mission.
The plum and cherry blossoms have come and gone; the wisteria is just beginning to take their place, to be followed by the magnolia, and the jasmine. It sounds as if I’m living on some Veneto-Byzantine tropical plantation.
Flowering Venice: I hope you’ll add this to your list of images of this city, along with the bridges and canals and ogee arches.