Living with Trees by W. H. Hudson


Springtime; the first anemones

I Remember—better than any orchard, grove, or wood I have ever entered or seen, do I remember that shady oasis of trees at my new home on the illimitable grassy plain. Up till now I had never lived with trees excepting those twenty-five I have told about and that other one which was called el arbol because it was the only tree of its kind in all the land. Here there were hundreds, thousands of trees, and to my childish unaccustomed eyes it was like a great unexplored forest. There were no pines, firs, nor eucalyptus (unknown in the country then), nor evergreens of any kind; the trees being all deciduous were leafless now in midwinter, but even so it was to me a wonderful experience to be among them, to feel and smell their rough moist bark stained green with moss, and to look up at the blue sky through the network of interlacing twigs. And spring with foliage and blossom would be with us by and by, in a month or two; even now in midwinter there was a foretaste of it, and it came to us first as a delicious fragrance in the air at one spot beside a row of old Lombardy poplars—an odour that to the child is like wine that maketh the heart glad to the adult. Here at the roots of the poplars there was a bed or carpet of round leaves which we knew well, and putting the clusters apart with our hands, lo 1 there were the violets already open—the dim, purple-blue, hidden violets, the earliest, sweetest, of all flowers the most loved by children in that land, and doubtless in many other lands.