when the cotton starts to fly

There’s a female cottonwood tree a few doors down, and the cotton is flying, and landing everywhere. Last year I had cottonwood trees sprout in the rain gutter, and didn’t even notice it until the trees were a foot tall.

I’ve been moderately irked about this, having to run the vacuum cleaner on my back patio, and sitting here wondering why people just have to have enormous shade trees in their tiny front yards, and at the same time thinking about this utterly wonderful book

and when I opened it at random to show the quality of the writing, I found this:

“….the Rio Grande cottonwood is beloved wherever it grows, and even the casual traveler, looking out from automobile or train window, readily sees why. For, amidst the range lands, the deserts, or the monotonous foothills clad in stunted Pinyon and Juniper, hot-looking and stingy of shade as they are, the Cottonwoods–growing 50 to 100 feet high–seem very lofty. Their shade is delicious in the long summers, and in winter they yield fuel to the outdoor ovens and little triangular fireplaces. The liquid whisper of their foliage is sweet to hear, and its autumnal hue of lemony gold is very fair against the bald blue skies. Even in winter the Cottonwoods shine forth whitely against a grayer sky. One could not ask for a more thoroughly domestic tree. What if its life is short, when it sprouts so freely, and seeds so abundantly? The white down goes sailing through the airs in late spring, collecting in drifts on the streets, in the fences, in the ponds and the window screens, and floating down the tinkling irrigation ditches to find new homes.”

I can live with the cotton.

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7 Responses to when the cotton starts to fly

  1. gardencoach says:

    Thanks so much, Bob, for a wonderfully poetic reminder!

    • paridevita says:

      You’re welcome. Peattie could write, that’s for sure. And he keeps this up for 700 pages…. I haven’t read his other books, which is my loss.


  2. Beautiful. When I was in Junior High, a close friend of mine wrote a poem called “Cottonwood Wind”. I had never seen the cotton blowing, myself, but her poem evoked it well.

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