There is a moment when the earth in these
latitudes accepts Spring. Our part of the earth has finally succumbed.
The ground is warm, the spinach has begun to bolt. The tomato are
enthusiastic and innocent. The potato are in flower. And in
the wilder part, blackberry are so laden by bloom they look to my memory
like a Hawthorn hedge in Buckinghamshire England, that I was once asked to
-'do something about.'
The hedge's owner was not a pleasant sort. In
the course of our brief association he laid a finger of irritation on my
back that I can still feel. His ancient hedge had blossomed so
beautifully that year, I had assumed it might be a reflection of his
character. As well, his material ancillaries suggested he was in a
position to pay promptly.
But there was no arguing with him the merits of haw
berries, shelter and bloom. He wanted the hedge gone. It was a
transparent moment for me. An easy one to grasp, because it was his
hedge, his ground, his decision.
In the bar that night I calculated the estimate.
I ran it by a half dozen beers and a dozen opinions. I doubled it, I
tripled it and then I quadrupled it, until the numbers became gambling and
until I became heroic in my daring. A comrade suggested that to add
powder I ask for half 'up front'. Which I thought genius.
Here in Kentucky we have one Washington Hawthorn
growing beyond the barn, by the bird feeder. It came in the mail a
year or so back. It is still frail and hapless in comparison to that