Young maple leaf, Blue Bell Hill Meadow, Saturday, April 19.
My first home on Naomi Street had a giant maple tree growing up through the middle of the back deck. (A hole had been cut out to accommodate it.) From the window in the back bedroom I could watch the buds swell in late March, and then over the course of a few days in mid April, open into leaves. I used to wonder when, exactly, does a bud stop being a bud and become a leaf?
But to ask that question was missing the point. "Bud" and "leaf" are nouns, and that tree at that time of the year was all verb.
The movement of spring is never more evident than right now, late April. Pass through the Wissahickon in the morning, and then take the same route home in the afternoon, and you will see growth in just those few hours. The weeds and flowers that line the trails will be taller against the measure of your leg or the height of your bicycle wheel. The leaves overhead will have thickened. The woods seem deeper. It's almost scary.