by Ruth Ann Dell
Three days ago.
It's spring in South Africa. Damp earthy smells delight me as the rain soaks into the dry thirsty soil. Green grass shoots through the black remains of the winter's veldt fires. Trees are dressed in fresh green leaves and blossoms abound.
A short walk up the street takes me to trees adorned with exquisite blossoms next to last year's pods. Many pods are now scattered on the ground and have split open to reveal rows of spiky seeds nestling inside. I don't know the name of the trees, but my brother-in-law assures me they are itchy bean trees--he remembers his school-days and boyish pranks. He and his friends put the seeds down the backs of each others' shirts so that the hairs caused itching!
I take a pod home and use a black marker to draw little eyes, which transforms the seeds into tiny hedgehogs--lovely little characters for a child's picture book.
|"Hedgehogs" Nestling in a Pod|
And the empty pods can also be used to make delightful birds. African craftsmen use clay to fill the pods and fashion heads. They press legs and feet of wire into the clay, then paint the birds when the clay is dry to make birds like the magnificent African hoopoe.
At the bottom of the street, silky oaks bear golden hairbrushes. I'm sure they brush the flowing green tresses of the weeping willows next to them as the wind blows the branches together.
|Silky Oak and a Weeping Willow|
|Silky Oak Brush|
What fun to use my imagination as I enjoy God's creation!
After note: Since my spring walk, I've flown to Ireland where the trees are sporting their autumn colors. Sadly widespread storms have lashed South Africa causing widespread damage and flooding.