This morning I noticed that the innumerable husks under the American beech in the backyard have opened, releasing the triangular nuts inside. I gathered about a hundred, scattered them on a muddy spot in the field, trod them in, and "mulched" with bits of hay and manure. Conditions are as good as they'll ever be. After a week of freezing and thawing, today's balmy sun following a night of spring-like rain seems to be calling every plant to swell, sprout, and shoot.
The odds of a seedling beech appearing in the field this spring are low. If it should happen (oh, please let it happen!), the tree will take a decade to reach my height. And I might not live long enough to see it thicken into a massive, silvery sculpture like its parent, which dominates the view from my bedroom window.
But the way to begin is to start.