Double Whammy

I’m suffering from radio withdrawal because it’s pledge week on both the local NPR affiliate (WWNO). Normally I would just switch over to Tulane University’s radio station (WTUL) for the week, but guess what? They’re in the middle of their annual “Rock On Survival Marathon.” In other words, it’s pledge week there too. Damn!

I give money to both stations. And I really don’t mind pledge week. It’s a necessary evil. Actually it’s a blessing in disguise, because it makes me turn off the radio, which I listen to compulsively. I mean, it’s great to stay informed and all, but I probably listen to news programs on NPR from three to four hours a day. I think all that information may hazardous to my mental health.


I’m fascinated by cycles, including the cycle of seasons. Back when I lived in Bloomington, Indiana I watched each spring for the emergence of new leaves, yet I always seemed to miss it. I would notice the buds when they appeared on the bare branches, and I kept my eye on them, and then — suddenly — there would be full-blown leaves on all the trees, turning the city from gray to green overnight. Damn!

Now that I live in New Orleans, this transition isn’t nearly so dramatic. Many trees, such as live oaks, keep their leaves through the winter, a season which is so mild here that it hardly deserves the name. Indeed, the four seasons here seem to be: carnival season, festival season, hurricane season and Christmas. But I digress.

Last year we planted a sweetgum tree in front of our home. Sweetgums lose their leaves in the winter. Over the last week or two I’ve been watching the green buds emerge on the branches, swelling bigger and bigger. Today I think I can finally say that I have seen young new leaves emerging.

Sweetgum Buds

Caught in the act at last.