One of my favorite runaways in the state is Tishomingo State Park up in North East Mississippi. There are two or three icons of the park. The suspension bridge over Bear Creek built in 1939, and of course Bear Creek itself, and one old log cabin restored here from a pioneer homestead a few years ago. Tishomingo is just yawning and stretching and slowly piling out after winter today. And the dogwood and redbud are just in the beginning stages of blooming. But it will come on quick.
Now, get down at the other end of the Natchez Trace just a day later and it's almost summertime. Well, all the trees are still in their pastel early greens and it will be a few more weeks until they darken into their final summer colors. And the whole world is greening up. And the dogwood trees are probably a little past their peak in this part of the state. Peak is when you can spot them easily down through the deep gullies here because nothing else has put out leaves yet to obstruct them at the time.
Back west of Port Gibson on the road leading to the Windsor Ruins the dogwood are very pronounced right now. But if you wander back off the roads, into the bluffs they really make a statement. When General Grant marched his Union army down this same road nearly 150 years ago at the beginning of the campaign that would eventually end in the fall of Vicksburg by July 4th of that year, he commented that the tall hills and deep ravines in between out here, seemed as if the earth had been stood up on its edge. And right now, as you pass along the road, you'll run up on a dogwood here and there at road level growing up tall and spindle searching for sunlight from the bottom of one of those ravines.
Maybe I was on the wrong road or maybe it's late in the season or maybe my memory multiplies things, but I recall riding down these roads years ago, maybe out to Rodney during dogwood season and seeing whole valley's of them. There's a bunch out there still, but not like I recall.
They are quick. One day there is nothing on the tree but the white bloom. A few days later the green leaves sprout. Then they co-exist for a short while, the leaf and blossom, then it's all leaves and the show's over.
And of course the wisteria is all over the place right now, too to replace the dogwood. As well as the Azalea. But it's the dogwood that leads that parade. And is before the reviewing stand right now.
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