Maple leaves

Last month, during a freakish stint of unseasonably warm weather, our neighborhood maples began to unfurl leaves more than two weeks ahead of last year. Then, the weather cooled, and the leaves simply stopped unfolding.

Norway maple flowers

It seems strange to see something sprout, spread, and then stop, its eventual development held in abeyance. Do leaves grow tired of being bound within buds? Do they yearn to strive and stretch? If I were a leaf or flower, I think I’d grow impatient during these brilliantly bright but brisk days: days when the sunlight says Spring but the wind says Winter, or at least Wait. Having waited all winter to unfold and unfurl, how can newborn leaves find the patience to pause?