There it is. Blooming there under the branches of the taller oaks and pines and cedars; a Dogwood. It varies a few days or maybe a week or so, this way that each year for exactly when it first pops out.
But usually when it does, it’s not there one day and then seems to be there the next. And for spring watchers, no matter when it is, it’s always a welcome sight.
Ron Manning has some property out in northern Hinds County.
“As I get older, girls and water skiing used to take priority. Now, it’s the beauty and the aesthetic of the woods. I love to see these dogwoods bloom," said Manning. "Not everybody’s blessed enough to see it. And I see it every day they bloom. I watch them. Used to, that was a sign that the turkey would be gobbling when the dogwood bloomed. But too many neighbors, too many loose dogs, the turkeys have found other places to roost and raise. So I just watch the dogwoods.”
They bloom just right. Before the leafy trees began to put on foliage in earnest. If they waited much longer you’d never see them. They’d be covered up.
But the way it is, even the lone dogwood on the other side of the pond by itself sticks out and puts its mark on an otherwise still almost colorless backdrop. They make their mark and then they’ve done their job of marking the progress of the warming of the seasons, and then they’re gone.
“They very rarely stay bloomed for over a week and then they fade out. But it looks like snow in the woods. It’s just pretty to me," added Ron. "The pears and peaches and plums have already bloomed. But for the most part, the dogwood in the woods is the prettiest and the first to show its face for spring.”
If we only had the temperature to go by as an indicator of when the seasons changed. We’d have climatic whiplash with the 80s in February and then the frosts we’ve had this month. But fortunately, there are those indicators that march (or bloom) to a different rhythm to keep us on track and always keep us looking for what’s next.