After three days of temperatures in the eighties, thunderstorms, followed by a chilly rain, moved in. Willard came up for a short visit when the rain slacked, and we made a trip to town. Along the way we spotted weeping cherry, pears, peaches, quince, redbuds in full bloom.
And then, the reason for the sudden cold snap: the dogwoods are blooming. A few here, a few there.
The first blossoming of the dogwoods always coincides with a cold snap; hence the name “dogwood winter.” A couple of years ago, it was cold enough that they first bloomed in snow, their petals equal in whiteness. The pink variety I haven’t seen yet, but they won’t be far behind.
Dogwoods are crooked little trees. Legend says that once they were as tall and straight as oaks, but then a cross was made of dogwood, and Christ was crucified on it. Thereafter, the dogwood never grew tall and straight enough for such a use, and its petals were marked at their tip with rusty little half-moons–the marks of his wounds. It’s told in this song and recitation by country singer Wilma Lee Cooper:
Of late years, they have been endangered by a blight of some sort. As yet, it hasn’t spread very far here, and I’m hoping that science will find a way to save them. A spring without dogwoods would be no spring at all.