At what moment do buds turn into leaves?

Twin elderberry buds

Hello again, dear reader!  (Tonight I feel like blogging.  Smile…  I hope you feel like reading.)

Pussywillows shimmering in the sun

This week I’ve been surprised to discover that Spring hath arrived–almost unnoticed.  How could this be?  In the last couple of years I have been super-alert to Spring’s arrival.  Watching grass turn green, buds appear, dandelions announce the end of Winter’s epic visit.

Perhaps it was the trip to Georgia which interrupted my attention.  Perhaps it was all that April snow.  Perhaps it was this busy week.  Who knows?  But suddenly, unexpectedly, miraculously Spring is wearing its green and yellow and purple and blue and red clothes with style and gusto.

Soft arch of pussy willow

Yesterday morning at least a million birds sang in the woods before 6 a.m.  Better than an alarm clock, dizzy and ecstatic in the light spring rain, they serenaded the buds and flowers and aspiring leaves and sleepy people to get up, wake up, don’t miss another second of spring’s arrival.

We get spring rather late here in the north country, as you know.  With the exception of certain years–such as last year–when it decided to arrive prematurely in March.  May is the usual month when we finally sigh in relief and dance in our hearts and try to assure ourselves that it’s stopped snowing for good.  (Monday was the last day it snowed.  We’re sure it’s over.)

Pussy willows so big you could sleep on them as pillows

Elisa shocked me earlier this week.  She’s been reading my blog from a couple of years ago–the outdoor commitment blog–and she casually asked about our wild leeks this year.  I don’t recall her exact question, but I remember thinking, “Leeks?  Leeks?  Ohmygoodness, how could I have forgotten LEEKS?  Must get out and harvest some of them before the morel mushrooms arrive.  MOREL MUSHROOMS?  Ohmygoodness, must get out and go lookin’.  And where’s our hummingbird feeder?  Must get that out between May 10th-15th.  Gosh, how did Spring sneak up so craftily and slyly this year?”

Green river of budding branch

This evening seemed the appropriate moment to take the camera and photograph the riotous arrival of buds on the trees.  What would we discover? 

Then flashed the thought:  “At what moment do the buds turn into leaves?”

Buds everywhere

This, of course, is a rhetorical question.  How would we ever know the exact moment when a bud transformed into a leaf?  Who would be astute and diligent enough to sit uponst a lawn chair with camera in hand, day after day, awaiting that fateful moment? 

It probably shifts gradually.  One day–or maybe within the space of a week–the buds will fall off the maple trees.  Perhaps the green shoot of a leaf pushes the buds off.  I know there will come a day when we’ll be sweeping maple buds off the deck.  On another fine day–either in late May or June–yellow poplar fuzz will fly everywhere, heralding the arrival of green aspen leaves.

At what moment do the buds turn into leaves? At what hour?

Thinking about the ways in which we are blooming in our own lives.  The ways in which we are creating new buds, new leaves, new projects, new dreams, new desires, new possibilities. 

In what way are you budding in your life?

Wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day tomorrow!  May the love for our mothers bloom stronger in every springtime…

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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42 Responses to At what moment do buds turn into leaves?

  1. holessence says:

    Loving your perspective and photographs, Kathy!

    You ask, In what way are you budding in your life?

    That would have to be the taking-things-in-my-stride buds. Many of the things that used to bug the bajeebers out of me roll off me like water on a duck. In the BIG scheme of things, they simply don’t matter.

  2. Elisa's Spot says:

    OH! Thank God a spark! Breathing in the spark…
    Ha! I was just thinking earlier this week how I would sound if I wrote about wondering if it hurt the wood in the trees to grow leaves. And HOW do those leaves get out from the hard smooth bark? Are there tiny holes or must the soft buds somehow push through the wood. See?!?! I feel like a Goober with the asking, but wow I do really want to know. If I lie down now, I’ll never know! 😉

    • Kathy says:

      What an interesting thought! I must admit never pondering whether it would hurt the wood in trees to grow leaves. A new question to ponder!

  3. jeff v says:

    Buds turn to leaves at the exact moment that your’e not looking. Doesn’t matter if you sit and stare and wait . Sooner or later something is going to divert your attention or you will blink and then …. bam! it happens. They weren’t here yesterday but by golly they are today, along with a trio of rose breasted grossbeaks and a whole squadron of warblers and various other neo tropicals. happy spring! and happy mother’s day!

    • Kathy says:

      There you have it, Jeff. I am sure your right. The trees simply wouldn’t change like that in front of us. Your trio of rose breasted grossbeaks sound wonderful. We haven’t seen them all winter. Happy spring to you, as well.

  4. Sybil says:

    This is my first year of watching the buds closely. They are a little different each day … Happy spring !

  5. Susan Derozier says:

    If only you knew my lifetime LOVE of pussy willows you would understand how much I love your pictures of them (now and before through the snow). So glad that spring has finally sprung for you. Happy Mother’s day to you as well. You are so right in it being a time to remember our own. FYI – When my mother died, my nephews went out into the fields and filled the room at her memorial with pussy willows in her honor. How timely you are Kathy, as always! Thank you again!

    • Kathy says:

      I am so glad you enjoy these pictures, Susan. Sitting quietly and thinking about your mother and pussy willows. It must be so poignant on Mother’s Day after you have lost your mother… Blessings to you and I shall say hello to the pussy willows from you on next passing.

  6. Marianne says:

    Happy Mother’s Day to you also, Kathy. I think the buds have been a little slow because of the cold weather in my neck of the woods. As for budding in my life….hmmm…maybe I’m budding in my new just freshly moved in to new apartment. My own space at last.

    • Kathy says:

      We’ve had cold weather, too, Marianne. I didn’t know you had just moved to a new apartment. How exciting! You are definitely budding in this new area of your life. Congratulations! 🙂

  7. Dawn says:

    Was just thinking today that I’m a few days late with the hummingbird feeder and if I don’t get it up soon he’ll be buzzing my windows! Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  8. flyinggma says:

    Love the photos and the question.

    I’m trying to bud in the contentment of the moment and not wishing for something else while missing the present gift of the day and people in front of me.

  9. jeffstroud says:

    Spring has certainly sprung! Lovely Photographs. Everything here is green, green, green already.
    Happy Mother’s Day to you!

    • Kathy says:

      You are lucky to be surrounded by green already, Jeff. I would be envious of you–except I know our green is approaching with rapid spring speed. Thank you for your Mother’s Day wishes. (And a Happy Mother’s Day to you, too.)

  10. Karma says:

    Love the pussy willow shot. I looked for pussy willows on my walk this spring and never came across them.
    In what ways am I budding? Hmmm, I’d like to think I am budding in knowing better what to do with my Rebel 9 months into ownership. And I can answer when buds seem to be come leaves – at least for me. Each year I watch the line of trees at the back of my property, each year during the first week of May (last year being the exception of course, when everything was early) that line goes “poof” from bud to leaves, filling the property line so that I can no longer see the neighbor’s house on the next street. I saw my “poof” this week – and mowed the lawn for the first time this year, another first week of May tradition!
    Happy Mother’s Day to you too!

    • Kathy says:

      I think you are budding as a photographer, Karen. Definitely! I like the way you describe it all as going “poof!” as it changes. (I think my whole world went “poof!” this week.) lol… Happy Mother’s Day to you, too.

  11. I had one of those head slapping moments this morning too. I need to bring up the Calla Lilly bulbs! Every fall I diligently dig them up and put them in a paper bag to sit over the winter in my basement. And every spring I bring them up and replant them. It’s one of those plants that takes just an ounce of extra time because you have to dig them up – but well worth it. So far I’ve gotten as far as bringing the bags up from the basement… Oriole and hummingbird feeders went up this morning too.

    Man I love spring. :o)

    • Kathy says:

      Man, Lynn, I love spring too! Funny that we both had these head slapping moments. Good luck with those Calla Lilly bulbs. They sound beautiful. You are also very lucky to have orioles. They pass through our area sometimes, but don’t stay.

  12. Carol says:

    Spring arrives late here too, but when it arrives it is glorious, just as yours is!

  13. It’s so nice (but very strange) to read about spring and fresh buds, when temperatures are around 90 degrees here!
    Enjoy spring, and Happy Mother’s Day! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      That is strange. 90 degrees, gosh. You are in the middle of summer, big-time! Happy Mother’s Day to you as well, Michaela.

  14. Jessica says:

    I prefer to think that the leaf is always there. It is more of a matter of if and when it finally feels confident enough to unfurl from hiding. They are sneaky though. Down here in Florida, Spring is more gradual and less of a surprise. Still when our little maple went from just a hint of leaves to full almost overnight it was a shocker. And this week I noticed its first little “helicopter” seeds.

    • Kathy says:

      Jessica, I love your viewpoint! To think…the leaf is always there, just waiting for its unfurlment. That makes me feel good. By the way, I remember those helicopter seeds from growing up. We don’t have many around our house…must be from a different kind of maple?

  15. Elle says:

    Here it seemed like it snuck up over night. One day the trees were still bare the next they had a fuzz of green on them.

    I’m not sure if I’m budding or not. I suppose the blogging could be a sort of budding. A few years ago I wouldn’t have had the moxie to get online and post what I thought about much of anything. Hopefully I’ll end up blooming into a decent looking flower! Maybe I’ll even smell nice!

    Happy Mothers Day!

    • Kathy says:

      I am SURE that you are budding, Elle. I think we’re all budding in some way, but sometimes it’s not clear at first. Not only are you blooming into a beautiful sweet-smelling flower–I’ll bet part of you already is one. But what kind of flower do you think you might be? smiling…

  16. Kathy I would love to sit uponst (is uponst really a word, or a Kathyism?) a chair and watch the buds appear! You have painted a magical picture here, especially to me. I’ve just realised that I take green for granted. Our trees don’t lose their leaves here, it’s too warm all year round, so I have never posed the question in my mind. How am I budding? I believe it could be the appreciation of seeing and enjoying the changes of seasons on the other side of the world, through the eyes of my blogger friends! Thank you, Kathy. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      I swear uponst is a word, Joanne! I swear it…except when I googled “uponst” it said it’s not in any dictionary. Maybe it’s an Old English word? Maybe? However, I had to laugh. YOUR comment up above is the third listing under the Google question “Is uponst a word?” ha ha. You are now famous. 🙂 Glad you are budding and enjoying this blogging world.

  17. sonali says:

    Lovely Pictures, Kathy! Its nice to see the seasonal variations at your side. The spring flowers look pretty. Enjoy the flowers around and wish you a belated Mothers Day!! Hope you had a nice day 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Sonali, close your eyes and imagine that I am handing you a little bouquet of wild flowers from our woods. (However, hold that imagination. Because our flowers haven’t quite bloomed yet.) lol! Hope you had a nice day, too.

  18. Colleen says:

    Kathy, I love this…..all of it!

    How am I budding in my life? Thinking about it I realize that I had whistfully assumed that I’d be blooming, not budding, by the time I reached my 60’s. But no, I’m definately budding….again! In so many areas. Still thinking about this…..

    • Kathy says:

      I am glad you liked it, Colleen. I am thinking that maybe all of us are budding and blooming simultaneously? Like maybe there are parts of us blooming and parts budding and parts dying away. (Forgive me for adding that part, lol.)

  19. Robin says:

    I almost captured that moment this year, when the buds turned into leaves. This is the first year I have ever paid so much attention to what happens to the trees, particularly the maple trees, in the spring. I never realized they flower after they bud, then the seeds show up, and then the leaves. I always thought they went from buds to leaves. It was a wonderful thing to watch and learn.

    I’m budding in so many ways that I don’t think I’ve taken it all in yet… 🙂

    Beautiful post, Kathy. Thank you.

    • Kathy says:

      To capture that very moment, Robin! How lucky you have been. I can imagine how many ways you are budding. In fact, I can see your flower(s) blooming now.

  20. Val says:

    Well… buds are leaves, they’re just waiting to unfurl. 🙂

  21. pearlz says:

    I have just read and looked at about five posts here Kathy – what a wonderful family you have and a great eye for the textures and beauty around you, – I loved all of the photograhs, especially the ones in this post of all the branches as this is something I often photograph as well. (: Thanks for making my day.

    • Kathy says:

      Good morning, June. There is such much beauty around us, isn’t there? I find myself staring at the trees this year, looking at the tips of green leaves branching out in the spring world. In awe for the electric green of their birthing. Thank you so much.

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