Azaleas Under the Trees
About twenty-five years ago a collection was taken at Dutchtown School to purchase azalea bushes to plant along the front of the school under the oak and pine trees. They were in five gallon buckets and were planted by the custodians. I remember how dinky they appeared when they were first put in the ground. The azaleas survived heavy traffic passing on Highway 73 from Interstate 10 towards the chemical plants on the Mississippi, a road-widening project to meet the needs of an exploding population, and the heavy-duty lawn mowers of the maintenance crews. Some of the remaining bushes must be over ten feet tall.
After all twenty-five years I thought I could predict the week the azaleas would be at their best; I was probably off a week. One day after classes were over I took my old Julien easel, a hastily prepped pastel board and a set of student grade soft pastels outside the classroom and captured those magenta flowers before they faded away. Even though it’s just a sketch, it was great to be outdoors with the bumble bees, breeze, and occasional observer. And the never-ending traffic on Highway 73.