Bamboo spring is bamboo autumn, ok?
Here’s a picture of the grove as it was a couple of weeks ago. This year it’s looked slightly yellow, due perhaps to the enormous amount of rain we received during autumn and early winter. The soil may have stayed a bit puggy for too long: moso loves hills for the drainage. But maybe I’m imagining the yellowing.
Soon, however it will be spring, which means bamboo autumn. Then you’ll see real yellow. “Bamboo autumn” is an expression I coined to describe the fading and shedding of leaves just prior to the insane upthrust of new culms in spring. The grove concentrates all its energy underground for that event, everything above ground looks half-dead. What I discovered recently is that everyone else who grows moso or lives around it also refers to spring as “bamboo autumn”. Oh well, if you can’t be original, be fashionable.
After too much rain, there’s been almost no rain for two months. I really don’t want to think about that. So…
On the subject of autumn:
The Australian poet A. D. Hope wrote some verses about an Aussie experiencing a true northern hemisphere “fall” for the first time. Autumn weather down here is as close as you can get to perfect, but most of us don’t experience the dazzling mass colour changes of entire deciduous forests. The one time I glimpsed it briefly – driving through the Bois de Boulogne – I responded much like Hope, who wrote in his Ode on the Death of Pius XII:
I was at Amherst when this great pope died;
The northern year was wearing towards the cold;
The ancient trees were in their autumn pride
Of russet, flame and gold.
Amherst in Massachusetts in the Fall:
I ranged the college campus to admire
Maple and beech, poplar and ash in all
Their panoply of fire.
Something that since a child I longed to see,
This miracle of the other hemisphere:
Whole forests in their annual ecstasy
Waked by the dying year.