Since March, I’ve spent a lot of time walking through the neighborhood, watching leaves emerge, trees take their shape, streets turn from black and white to color. I’ve tried to watch with an observant eye the city turning into spring. But it’s tricky. As Leslie and Anke have pointed out, if you’re not careful it can happen when you’re not looking.
And even when you are looking, I’ve found it’s difficult to shoot interesting spring photographs. Amazed by the multitude of tiny, beautiful eruptions of leaves and flowers, I ended up taking many pictures that resemble those a photography student might take while experimenting with the macro button on her digital camera. (In truth, I was learning how to use the button. Leslie had just shown me where it was during a recent visit!)
But I love how you can see just how and where the leafbud sprouted out of the branch. (Click on the photo to see a closer detail.) How does this work?! It must take an enormous amount of the tree’s stored energy for the buds to burst forth.
For reference, here is the same little branch, 3 weeks earlier.
I kept wanting to take close-up shots of all this tiny new growth. I thought that these young ginkgo leaf clumps were especially cute.
The ginkgo is one of my favorite urban trees, its clumsy silhouette made even stranger by the new leaves placed evenly along its branches in a peculiar centipede pattern.
I’ve also been noting the comeback of various deciduous ivies. Though nearly invisible during the winter, the ivies come alive again in the spring to reassert their domination over the urban landscape.
One particularly monstrous network of ivy in the neighborhood grows entwined with the chain link fence above the Prospect Highway on the south side. (It is rooted 30 feet below, along the Prospect Highway wall on the other side of this fence and spans half a block, together with different types of ivies.) This photograph shows only the tip of the iceberg; one of these days I hope to dedicate an entire post to this ivy-monster.
I came across this ivy-wall which at first glance appeared to be yet unleafed, but on closer inspection…
I found a trickle of new green!
And here’s another heavily ivied wall with an onset of green creeping up in two hand-shaped peninsulas.
And, lastly, a favorite plant site of mine. Hanging weeds (ivy?), which spill over a backyard fence and sway gently over the windy Prospect Highway, had until very recently been stringy strands of grayish brown.