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by Steph Jeffries

Tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera) bloom

Stop whatever you are doing.

Go outside, right now,

Before sunlight lifts the morning dew

And the air is still awakening.

Look up.

Breathe in the primeval sweetness

Of tuliptree flowers, and watch the squirrels

Nip them off, holding the cups in their paws

Like goblets, imbibing the nectar,

Pulling tepals off one by one

Like an artichoke, then releasing them

To tumble to the ground.

Ask yourself--

How you could have missed

This small miracle,

Happening just outside your door.

Steph Jeffries is a forest ecologist and Teaching Associate Professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Science at NC State University in Raleigh, NC, where she teaches Dendrology and Forest Communities. She is the co-author of Exploring Southern Appalachian Forests and loves sharing her love of trees and forests with people of all ages. Read more of Steph's poetry at Running with Scissors and follow her on twitter at @scissorsrunning.


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