Our son has been really excited about the slow unfolding of spring. Never mind that it's been in the forties and raining. Ever the optimist, he asks every morning if today's the day he can wear short sleeves. He literally jumps for joy at the sight of daffodils. And today we glimpsed the year's first blooming tree.
"Look," I said, pointing out the car window, "that tree's starting to bloom!"
"What does bloom mean?" he asked.
"Bloom means flower," I told him. "That tree is going to have flowers." I spotted another one. "And that one, too!"
"Wow! I didn't know that! I thought flowers grow on the ground."
"They do," I agreed, "and also, some kinds of trees have flowers in the spring. Actually, there's a special blessing to say when you first see trees blooming," I told him. "Baruch atah Adonai, eloheinu melech ha'olam --"
And then I faltered. I haven't said the blessing over blooming trees since last spring; I couldn't remember exactly how it went. "And then you thank God for making the beautiful trees and their flowers and everything in the world," I concluded.
"I can't say all of that," he told me primly. I guess even in English, that's a mouthful.
"You could just say thank you for the trees and their flowers," I suggested.
"Thank you God for the flowers on the trees!" he crowed, satisfied. And then he had an idea. "When it's Friday night we could say 'Shabbat shalom, trees!'"
"We could," I agreed. Thank You, God, for this kid, I thought, as we drove on.
(You can find the blessing for blooming trees, along with some commentary, here: The Annual Blessing Over Trees.)