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We have a tree in our front lawn that we’ve yet to identify. It only flowers during the month of April, and it is my personal marker for the beginning of spring. It is our own flowering “groundhog,” if you will.

Every branch tip, formerly covered in green leaves, transforms itself into a tightly bound bouquet of bright yellow flowers. Each individual flower lacks an identifiable fragrance but, in a bundle, it emits a spicy scent.

A tire swing B built for the children is secured to one of its branches. Each time our children swing, soft flowers rain down around them. In small clusters, the children collect the flowers it discards. Often, I find these flowers clumped together by their bedside. The brevity of a flower’s life both disappoints and confounds them.

Despite the near constant drizzle of flowers it sheds on our lawn, it regenerates itself and always appears densely bloomed. Standing in its shade, a steady but barely audible hum can be heard. It softly emanates from the tree.  It is then we first notice frantic bees rapidly beating their wings. They dart between the flowers as we stand looking up, our hands shielding our eyes from the slanting sun. These bees are the temporary custodians of our tree.

Later, I view our children from our front steps, delighted by the tree’s grace, and hopeful I will someday, rightly name this tree.

April 21, 2010