The blossoming almond tree: the first sign of the approaching spring
Since antiquity the almond tree has been associated with watchfulness and promise due to its early flowering. It is indeed the first of the trees in Malta to emerge from the brief winter hibernation when most other trees are either dormant or else still contemplating on exposing their first shoots after the cold season.
Almonds are very small, discrete trees which generally tend to go unnoticed, except during this brief period of time in February when all the almond trees around suddenly respond to some invisible signal and produce a glorious show of white and pink flowers which blossom even before the new leaves appear!
Depending on the kindness or otherwise of the weather, this spectacle can last around a couple of weeks but blossoming almond trees have been known to become almost totally denuded of their flowers overnight in the event of stormy and windy conditions.
The beauty of an almond tree in full flower is best enjoyed against the backdrop of a clear and deep blue winter sky, such as the one I chanced upon last Friday on a short visit to Wied Ghollieqa in Kappara. The crispness of the sky contrasts sharply with the riot of flowers and the spindly twigs to make the sight truly enjoyable and memorable.
A small miracle of nature that goes mostly unnoticed in the hustle and bustle of our daily routine, but can provide such pleasure even if one stops to marvel at it for just a few seconds.