I am always surprised when, right about mid-May in Northwestern Connecticut, green growth leaps out of the ground and blossoms burst from the small buds clustered along the boughs of soon-to-be-flowering trees. And here it comes, right on seasonal target!
First to appear is always the thin, yellow-green, low-lying veil of undergrowth that rain and warming temperatures transform into a thickly woven fabric of green that obscures the deep heart of the woods. Walk along your favorite Topsmead woods trail to see what I mean.
At the same time the fragrances and bud-bursts begin: pink cherry trees and redbud, white dogwoods and crabapples, and pink-white-lavender lilacs. I finally realized one spring what makes these flowering trees so fragile-y gorgeous—their blossoms are out in full force before the green of their leaves appears. Take a stroll up the gravel drive of Topsmead from the parking area to Miss Edith’s cottage to see what I mean.
Then come the leaves. As the flowering trees shed their blossoms and decorate the ground in a pink and snowy white, the green leaves of summer begin to fill the void. Higher up in the canopy of the woody trees, the leaves of sugar maples and American birches begin their leaf-out. The shade begins to appear...first as a lacey whisper created on the ground by the sun shining through the pattern of the newly emerging leaves. As the leaves reach peak maturity, the lacey shade fills in and becomes a thick carpet of shade. In my high school literature classes, I used to alert my students to watch for the arrival of shade, that harbinger of summer when the world slows down and envelops us in its abundance of magical shade.
Speaking of harbingers of summer and magical experiences, this particular May brings yet another magical Topsmead experience. I will be joining seven folks for the Friends of Topsmead docent training program run by Jenny Riggs and Jerry Geci. After working with both of them over last fall and winter to make the film Topsmead: One Lady’s Legacy, I am excited to learn even more about Miss Edith, her cottage, and her time at Topsmead. I look forward to leading tours of the cottage this summer and introducing new people to Miss Edith and her story as well as welcoming back old friends.
So do visit Topsmead during magical May, stroll amongst its magical shade, and come back for a tour of the cottage on Saturdays and Sunday, June through October. Watch this website for registration details.
And if you have a minute, why not share below in the comment section something that you find magical about visiting Topsmead in May?