17 April 2008

Redbud Paparazzi

"If you have ever walked among giant redwoods, you will never be overwhelmed by the size of a dogwood tree... "

When I first moved to Kentucky it reminded me of where I grew up with just a few things missing; redwood trees, cool fog and the smell of the ocean... I can almost feel them. Almost. We have fog, but in California when it is foggy it is cold. Here it is warm and foggy. That's just not right. Things are very different here. My brother-in-law said, "Welcome to Kentucky, turn your clock back 50 years." I knew at once he was right. He grew up in the California redwoods too. We're both old enough to remember when California was kinder, slower and gentler. Kentucky is still all of those things.

I had a chance to chat with with a woman at bible study. She was a teacher at the local elementary school. She has the kind face, ready smile and soft, expressive voice that undoubtedly made her a favorite teacher. She also has the inquisitive nature and sense of wonder that should be mandatory among teachers. I love to have her tell me stories about our little town. A few weeks ago we talked about our very own little "tornado alley." She told me all about the path the storms normally take. She would have been a valuable resource when I was looking for a home. You guessed it, I live in one of the alleys.

This week we talked again about weather. The weather is more than polite conversation here. You make your plans and live your life by it here. She asked me if I was from a temperate part of California. I told her yes, I came from wine country. She smiled vaguely and I followed with, "North of San Francisco, where Luther Burbank settled and did all his work in horticulture." That made sense to her, we live in a dry county and wine country doesn't mean much to folks who are pleased to keep alcohol out of their stores and restaurants. "Do you enjoy having four seasons or do you miss the California climate?"

She went on to talk about the seasons within the seasons here. We had one day that was in the mid seventies and the next day we had snow. "Well, we've had our redbud winter, we'll be warm for a few days and then we'll have dogwood winter and then something else and then one last cold spell when the blackberry bushes bloom." She fascinates me. Later that night when my step-dad called he asked about the weather. He lives in Hawaii and worries about me when he hears about storms. I told him about redbud, dogwood and blackberry winter.

"Redbuds like in California? Would you send me pictures of them?" So yesterday and today my sister and I have been out driving the roads and finding redbud trees to photograph. We call ourselves the "Redbud Paparazzi." It was good to be out, having fun and communing with nature. We saw delicate wild flowers, beautiful rock formations, creeks, waterfalls, a wildcat and lots of redbud trees growing in between and under the other trees that are slowly coming to life. The countryside is breathtaking. As we drove I couldn't help but to be grateful to God for providing such a wonderful display.

"If you have ever walked among giant redwoods, you will never be overwhelmed by the size of a dogwood tree. Or if you have been through a hurricane, a spring rain is nothing to fear. If you have been in the presence of the almighty God, everything that once controlled you suddenly has less power." Edward T Welch

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