They call them “redbuds”. I can’t distinguish the trees, once they leaf out into green, from any other among the foliage in the forests that line the roadways here in the mountains or the valleys of the Shenandoah and Potomac. They are blooming early this year, just like everything else. Either that, or time is just passing more quickly than I’m accustomed to, and nature has accelerated along with it. The dogwoods are in full bloom here, even though the forsythia just started to reveal its florescent yellow blooms. Those two plants are usually not in sync like that. I suppose we could get a frost, which would kill the apple blossoms, and therefore the apple crop that this region is so famous for, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
The redbuds are not red. They are a vibrant shade of purple. They stick out against the browns and very early new greens, and the pinks and whites of the other flowering trees. The insects never really died down here because we had no winter in 2011-2012. At least not here in the Northern Shenandoah Valley. I noticed the first redbud in bloom in the woods along the side of the road yesterday or the day before. It’s early for them too, but I’m not a botanist. They stick out like dayglo purple bracelets and necklaces that kids wear on summer nights, at events like fourth of July fireworks and other crowded festivals.
Everything, not just the weather, seems to be out of whack. Of course, moving is a huge change. I feel such tremendous relief to be in this space, in this house, one that reminds me so much of my childhood home in Baltimore. Older houses have space, and it’s a bit like getting off of a submarine, or coming home from a camping trip, where you were making do with so little, and now you have the luxury of space. Even with all of our things, there is still a lot of open space. More space than we fill up.
This week is all business. Buckling down at the job. Shifts one, two, and three. Shift three is out of whack somewhat. I don’t really know why, and it’s not a subject that I can seem to make any progress on moving towards deeper discussion.
But the redbuds are nice. They don’t last for long, the flashes of purple probably are at a color register designed for the eyes of bees, and other pollinators. My eyesight has never been normal, and I didn’t get glasses to correct it until I was six, going on seven, in the second grade before the adults finally noticed that I couldn’t see the writing on the blackboard, or anything else at a distance. That myopia gave me a preference, as a small child, for all things miniature. Things you had to hold up to just a few inches in front of your face in order to see, and the reward was spectacular detail, and craftsmanship, of the artists who created tiny pieces of dollhouse furniture, detailed dolls’ faces with their two-haired paintbrushes, and gave them features that can only be seen if you look very, very closely.
So, at this point, I don’t know which point of view is necessary. For so long I have been looking at my feet, focusing on keeping them on the path, from slipping on rocks, away from the edges of the ravine, that would send me tumbling into brambles and probably lay me up for a long time, injured and lame. But now it’s time to take the magnifying glass and go look over the wreckage, and over the new blueprint that’s being drawn. Salvage work is hard. But the redbuds, the vibrant flashes of purple that I pass by on my way to and from my various places of work- professional and domestic- make it easier, somehow. The color is so startling and vibrant, it stays in my mind for the rest of the day, and worms its way into my dreams at night, whether my sleep is restful or not.