Sunday, May 15, 2005

Spring (redux)

I already did one post about Spring, and although we are technically still in Spring, the changes that come about as part of the change of the season from winter have already taken place. The flowering trees and shrubs are finished, the maples have dropped their seeds, the unmowed grass is now 4 feet high and heavy with seed heads (and ticks). I really wanted to say something about the dogwood, which is one of the first things to burst into bloom, certainly before the trees in the upper canopy of the woods begin to leaf out. Lots of people have dogwood trees in their yards and they are spectacular. We ourselves have two mature trees that bloom and a small forest of 6 young trees that we planted about 5 years ago to replace a dogwood that got wiped out when the highway came through. But, the real experience of a blooming dogwood occurs when one drives by an area of woods where the wild dogwood trees are blooming. It is eerily beautiful. I just finished reading a novel by Willa Cather and she describes this very well: “On the steep hillside across the creek the tall forest trees were still bare... from out of the naked grey wood the dogwood thrust its crooked forks starred with white blossoms – the flowers set in their own wild way along the rampant zigzag branches. Their unexpectedness, their singular whiteness, never loses its wonder, even to the dullest dweller in those hills. In all the rich flowering and blushing and blooming of a Virginia spring, the scentless dogwood is the wildest thing and yet the most austere, the most unearthly.”

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