WINTER BLOSSOM



From my roof terrace I look over the valley pinked with almond blossom. It has been a warm dry January with crisp mornings but no frost, perfect weather for the nuts to set so we should see a good harvest this August, when the nuts are knocked with canes onto waiting nets, exhausting work in Summer heat. The village once hummed with shelling machines, as nuts were bagged for storage, ground for cakes and pastries. Sadly with an aging population and a younger generation who can not make money from agriculture, almond production is in decline, the supermarkets selling cheaper Californian almonds, exploiting their water table in a sad example of the environmental damage of global food production. 
This poem describes the 'almendros' particular cycle, leafless in Summer, blooming in Winter when their blossom delights the senses. 


WINTER BLOSSOM



The ‘almendro’ keeps its own cadence,
waxed feather leaves burst emerald green
whilst Winter trees sleep through valley winds,
antler velvet nuts set in oval clusters,
milky cream almonds maturing within as
fall strikes early, Summer sun still baking
cracked Terracotta earth, bare branches crying
Autumn, their spiked silhouettes framed
against shimmer haze of July sapphire sky.

As year end nears, homes ever greened and berried,
we spot the first blossom, a sun blessed spot
warms the waiting buds, peach down petals
unfolding like snow dove wings, the farmers pray
for needed rain to bide its time, for chill to wait as
New Year sunshine balms the grove, overnight the
blossom bursts, the terraced valley flushed with
clouds of candy pink, a floating blush brushed
from a palette of white rose, silked as a ballet shoe.



© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved. 


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