South Florida’s Snow

How many springs have come and gone

before I ever knew how flaming red

the blooms of a silk-cotton tree could be,

and the many birds that flock to sip

upon her rich, sweet nectar at will.

It’s the time of perfect young spring,

the fulfillment of promise, and yet,

no sign or even a thought to remind

one that her fresh beauty will ever fade.

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But fade it must, scattering petals

beneath her leafless wood of thorns.

It seems strange that like a rose; thorns.

He who dares to grasp her branches or trunk,

should never crave her real beauty.

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Where blooms once had flourished,

longish pod-shaped fruit grows forth.

Far from edible, for they are filled with

wooly cotton floss attached to seeds,

and when hot winds blow, white clusters

of cotton fall like northern snow.

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I’ve been wintering in Florida for 12 years and even though I’ve walked by this tree and others like it many times, I never gave them much notice. Possibly, because it grows to about one hundred feet tall, and its large vibrant red blossoms grow upward on the branches. But that one day, walking by this tree, I happened to look toward the sky, with my eyes only (since I no longer have movement in my neck). The vibrancy of the large red flowers were magnificent against the blue sky. It wasn’t until two months later that I noticed longish shaped fruit growing where the flowers had flourished. That night I searched on the Internet for the name of this tree, and what kind of delicious fruit it bared (In India, they use this white wooly floss-like fluff which grows within the fruit to stuff pillows, mattresses, and such). The photos above I’ve taken when on my walks.

If you look up towards the sky, really taking the time to notice, you may experience a magical moment.

(Every part of the Red Silk Cotton tree is of immense medicinal value)

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