March 26, 2010

Unexpected Places

One of my favorite things about Portland, and one of the things I miss most, was a little known event that occurred every spring. The only people who knew about it were those who stumbled upon it. And even those of us in the know could sometimes forget and miss it. It wasn't a party or a holiday or a sale, it was the blooming of a single bulb in an unexpected place.

The year before Briton was born we moved across town to an area known as Hollywood. It was, like much of Portland, packed with cute bungalows, cheery parks and funky shops. Hollywood runs into, or encompasses (depending on who you ask) the neighborhood where Mr. Holland's Opus was filmed and is also home to Klickitat Street where Ramona Quimby lived in Beverly Cleary's books. There are even statues of Ramona, Henry and Ribsy playing in the park. It's a beautiful neighborhood that I dare anyone not to fall in love with.

Not far from Hollywood, in fact, along the road that a lot of residents take to get into the neighborhood from the freeway, there is a giant old tree on a corner. There's nothing remarkable about the tree really, I can't even remember what kind it was, but every spring a daffodil would bloom where the trunk split about six feet off the ground.

It was one of those things that I wouldn't even think about until driving past on the way home. Just spotting it made me happy. Who, I always wondered, thought to plant a daffodil way up high in a tree? Every spring it was there, even after we moved away and then back again a few years later, there it was.

I've always meant to do that, plant a bulb in a tree. But we've moved too often, or maybe I just forget until it's long past time for bulbs to go in the ground. This year however, the stars were aligned. Last fall I sat with a few leftover bulbs after planting along our fence line. Where to put them. By the gate? Next to the door? Under a window? Or... light the cherry tree!

And this was how a friend noticed the other day that there were three daffodil plant sprouting from our tree. I'd totally forgotten, just like I always did in Portland. But there they are, starting to bloom away after a long winter under not a whole lot of soil. Hopefully making some passers by happy just to see them, the same way those Portland flowers did for me.