The Linden Tree

When the linden tree is in bloom, I can often hear a low whine of pollinators from the tree. I’ll be sitting on the porch, and suddenly notice a sound, a far-off buzz, and I wonder: is a neighbor using a weed trimmer? After it bothers me for a while, I realize it’s the linden tree, or rather, the many insects gathered to its blossoms.

I am so happy to have this tree–it’s the only one we have. The hammock is hung right below it, and when you look up the leaves cascade down. The way the tree drapes its branches is just so pleasing to the eye. The leaves are a deeper green and are an appealing heart shape with light veins fanning out. The clusters of bell-shaped flowers hang just inside the branches. The smell is truly delicious, and today when I went to inspect the flowers, I found many beetles with their heads stuck inside, not moving, perhaps immobilized by the scent?

Unfortunately, all the flower clusters are out of my reach this year. The lower branches are not as profuse as they have been. I like to make tea out of them in winter, especially with boiled down maple sap. In the past, I searched out other trees, as lindens are often utilized as a sidewalk trees in towns. I collected them from city streets and parking lots (even though it’s usually inadvisable to forage on road sides due to exhaust fumes), and they just weren’t the same: the city blooms were just not very good compared to my country tree. Maybe it’s about the type of linden? What I have is probably an American linden, and what I see in the towns are most likely littleleaf linden.

So, no tea this year, but I’m happy just swinging underneath this big tree, seeing the pollinators dip in and out of the flowers, watching spent blossoms drift down, and drinking in the sweet smell.

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