Wednesday, April 30

pyrus calleryana

on my walk home the other day I imagined climbing trees. I wondered if I'd be able to get up to the very supple ends of the big, tall things on the river bank. how deep is that river, anyway? would it be stupid to climb everso carefully up and up into the bendy, wobbly treetops, look down at the muddy Wabash, and then let go? what would it be like to crazily ignore all your nerves, all your panic, and hold your breath while the river rushes to meet your free-falling body?

this sounds very reckless and Anne of Green Gables, doesn't it? I might as well imagine sleeping in a wild cherry tree, eh? (incidentally: in accompaniment to previous link, this modernized version of Anne has a tumblr. and a twitter, also. I mention them all just in case the subtler, more snippet-like instances of such an adaptation intrigue you as much as they do me. someday all fictional characters will be on twitter, following each other, I imagine. what a day that will be.)
these, bedecked with blossoms though they are, do not count as wild cherry trees, and they don't hang over the Wabash, either. the internet tells me they are Callery pear trees. a common deciduous shade tree with wood fine enough for flute-making. they come with wild faeries that come alive in the wind, just like the cottonwood.

the Callery pear also comes with a rather dreadful scent. everyone on campus has been complaining about it these last few weeks. here, in an unconscious-that's-just-how-the-technology-works-after-all way, I have kindly snipped the image of these white-bloomed trees away from their weird smell. you can enjoy the brightness of them, separate.

the internet also tells me that this species comes from China and Vietnam. what are they doing in Indiana at all? how did they get here? whose idea was it to cover Purdue campus in them?
I do wonder what amount of thought went into this little segment of the landscaping, and when. how long ago were they planted? does anyone who was involved ever regret their part in bringing so many Callery pear trees into town?
they are beautiful. the blossoms, the shade. seeing them outside my office windows, thin spring twigs all wrapped up in frilly layers, is pretty neat. photos from this neatly cobbled circle will always come with very obvious seasonal markers, because of these trees.
as I was digging around for answers to all my questions about these trees, I discovered a neat website called the Purdue Arboretum Explorer. I might have to spend more time there feeding my curiosity. there are tours outlined. maps you can click around in. the page about the Callery pear even comes with three and a half minutes of audio outlining the arboreal details of the cultivar. I wonder whose voice that is. I wonder who else ever uses this site and for what. I wonder if it would be useful for my writing-and-place class in the fall.

I don't wonder so much what it's like to sleep in a tree like this. sleeping is difficult enough when you're not worried about bugs and gravity. someday I'll kick off my shoes and try climbing one, though. maybe after all the tiny, crazy, weirdly-perfumed petal-faeries have blown away.

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