The other day, I ate a quick lunch at work and then took a walk outside. An Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) danced against a backdrop of giant spruce trees that border the road.

This time of year in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania, our native redbud struts her stuff. I usually enjoy the magenta display from a distance, passing in a car or on my bike. I wanted to take a closer look. The delicate but striking buds actually sprout from bare gray branches with neither leaf nor stem in sight.

As I approached the windbreak, what I saw amazed me. Mother Nature’s paintbrush detailed the flower buds and then added the same red raspberry sheen to the immature spruce cones preening nearby.


Redbud and Red Spruce Cones

I might be going out on a limb—taxonomy, like Italian, is not my specialty—but I think the spruce is another native, Picea rubens, red spruce.

Color echoes, sometimes just a momentary flash, but oh, so beautiful.

Another, etched in my mind’s gallery, flickers like an old newsreel. Years ago I was growing Asclepias tuberosa, commonly known as butterfly weed, in the garden at Fleur-de-Lys under the lion’s head fountain. One day, walking past, I did a double take. The tip of a young green shoot on the plant was the same violent orange as the blossoms. On closer inspection, it was dozens of bright orange aphids clinging to and devouring the greenery that mimicked the color of the plant’s brilliant flowers.

I know aphids as pests with piercing, sap-sucking mouthparts. They can devastate a garden. I was dumbfounded that this one species was able to find its color match on my orange butterfly weed blossoms. Nature’s camouflage.

I yanked the plant and fed it to the chickens, orange aphids and all. Laurie Lynch

Italian Pronunciation: My Italian-speaking friend Karen corrected the pronunciation I gave for scorpacciata in my last blog. When in Rome, please pronounce it “scor-potch-CHA-ta”.

I always appreciate editing, though it can be so gosh-darn embarrassing My chef-phew, who seems to spend more time in my Linkedin site than I do, finally mentioned that I listed one of my activities as writing “Fleur-de-Bog”. It made me want to croak!

Makes Cents: “There are two typos of people in this world: Those who can edit and those who can’t.”—Jarod Kintz


4 thoughts on “Fleur-de-Echo

  1. Laurie–I love the Kintz quotation. I was going to say “quote.” But then I heard my 10th grade English teacher disapprove. I like to think I’m one of the people who can edit. Always enjoy your blogs. Saw Pete Waldron at a luncheon on Thursday. We talked a bit about you and your mom. Then we said, almost in unison, “Laurie’s blogs are so good.” We’re enjoying the redbud here. It grows abundantly along one the city streets that is bordered by a wooded area. I drive there every day & then circle back so I can see witness the color from both viewpoints. Love to All

    • Quote/quotation is new to me…I didn’t have that 10th grade English teacher. But I had some gems–Mrs. O’Neill who in junior high said I had to branch out from reading only “horse” books (and I listened, thank goodness) and dear Mrs. Vandell, my 12th-grade English teacher, who encouraged me to write. Then in college, a wonderful professor who opened up a whole new world in his Ethnic Literature class. And my first editor Betsy…and, as a young mother, I was encouraged by your reading lists, Ruthie, to start my kids out reading wonderful books. It’s good for all of us to take the time to remember all of those guiding lights in our life.

  2. All the flowering trees are especially appreciated after that winter. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that spring as actually arrived.

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