Tuesday, April 23, 2019

SOL: Redbuds in spring

            The redbud is one of my favorite trees. I first noticed it when hiking in the Shenandoah mountains many, many years ago, in the early spring. In the mountains, these are little wisps of trees, perhaps grown from seeds dropped indiscriminately by birds or carried by the wind, slipping in-between and alongside evergreens and oaks, dotting the trails as you climb. They almost jump out at you, bursting with bright purple-pink color, as they move from their winter dormancy. I have never really seen anything red about them...I think they should be called 'purple bud,' but, of course, I was not consulted.

             About five years ago, having decided a small, flowering shade tree is exactly what we lacked, we planted a redbud in our front yard. From our living room window, I get the delight of watching it bloom and grow, throughout the seasons. Its early spring show, with its pop of color, blows away all the other seasons, in my opinion. I soon realized a downside of the redbud: that pop of color is very brief, with the bright blooms changing quickly to leaves. Walking by flowering redbuds on a hike, I never thought about that; they were simply beautiful to behold. Watching the redbud from my window these past few years, I've been more aware the bright purple-pink season is actually very short and I pay close attention.

              About ten days ago, my redbud began its gorgeous spring blooming - sweet blossoms emerging along every branch, dotting these in tiny petals. Then, we went away for spring break. We drove down to Georgia from our home in Maryland, along I-81, and I again marveled at the redbuds dotting the landscape, all along this mountainous route. Beautiful! Once in Georgia, I didn't notice the redbuds...out of sight, out of mind. Here, the dogwoods were in full glory. Ah, spring!

               First thing Easter morning, back in Maryland, my spring break over, I immediately noticed that my dear redbud's fabulous spring blossoms were fading quickly - oh no! I was not here for their full glory!

               I stood for a long while underneath the tree branches, noticing and devouring.

               Emerging from the end of each of the branches were small, heart-shaped leaves. These leaves do not simply replace blossoms, but seem to grow in addition, alongside, stretching new from the tree. As the blossoms wilt and fall away, more and more leaves will arrive. Looking closely at those blossoms one more time, I notice their small purple core, with two to three tender pink petals growing out of this. I notice those new heart-shaped leaves are pretty, too, bright and shiny, deep red in color.

                This same week of spring break, my granddaughter, "Frog," who is nearly six months old, outgrew the bassinet in her parents' bedroom and moved to her own crib, in her own bedroom. Do you know she also started to sit up? Babies, wow, how quickly they change. Somehow in the midst of the hike of parenting my own children, the changes didn't seem so fast as they do now, with Frog. She is stretching and growing, just like those blossoms and leaves, letting some things fall away, opening up to so much new. I get the delight of watching Frog bloom and grow.


  1. It is a shame that the flowering season of some blossoms is so short. Blink and it is over. I have never seen a redbud in bloom. Looks lovely.

  2. I agree with arjeha about the short season! Thanks for sharing the changes in your grandchild too! Enjoy!