The alarm shook us out of a heavy sleep and out of bed at 5:00 am. Yes, you read right, 5am. I had showered the night before and laid out our clothes and morning meds…allergy pills and a statin, I think that’s the one we take in the morning. Clothes pulled on and coffee promised down the road, we headed into the darkness.
It was last Thursday when we loaded the car, overnight bags, fruit and cookies and popcorn to keep us awake for the long drive ahead, winter coats in case, well you know what that’s all about. And we headed down Route 81, through snow banks edging the highway across Pennsylvania, across skinny stretches of Maryland and West Virginia and then on through Virginia. Still more snow, though the banks of dirty white along the road were getting slimmer and the fields were starting to show green.
Then we passed the exit to Roanoke and we found it, Spring. Spring got shanghaied or waylaid in Roanoke. Oh, we could still see patches of white here and there, where the sun couldn’t penetrate a thicket of trees or the steep bank where as some might say, “The sun don’t shine.” But we passed fields of grass somewhere between the colors of lime and emerald, bright green shouting “Look at me, look at me!”
And I did. The search was on for more signs of our elusive spring. A row of white blooming trees marching down the median, then standing at attention, like soldiers on either side of the road caught my eye. I think they were flowering dogwood there to start the parade.
Now on the alert for color, I almost cried when I spotted the gorgeous pink flowering trees, like huge bouquets coming next.. I think they are called Eastern redbuds.
And finally one of my favorite harbingers of spring, yellow forsythia showering golden fireworks for a stretch. Oh, I felt a silly smile creeping across my face, a joy dancing in the air. Spring lives and its headed up Route 81 to my house.
Of course, the next day we checked with our hotel about the weather for the trip home, on Saturday we were planning. He gave us the cheery news that on the way south on 81 the sun would shine and the weather great. “But,” we said, “how about 81North?”
“Oh,” he replied, trying to salvage our reservation I am sure, “gorgeous south of here but I think the weatherman is calling for about ten inches around Roanoke, but that’s about 80 miles away.”
“Ten inches,” I thought, “certain to postpone spring. And make the trip home a nightmare. Four Nor’easters was enough. I definitely don’t want to have to drive through one more.”
So, grateful that we got to spend some time with my brother, sad that we had to leave early, we piled the stuff back into the car. This time our load a little lighter by a few cookies and most of a bag of popcorn.
I watched for the color on the way back the next day, the yellow and pink and flowery white, and brilliant green, thankful we were ahead of the white they measured in inches.
But victorious I felt, and hopeful. We found Spring, and everyone knows that late March and April snows don’t last. It’s coming, I tell you, it’s coming. And I am getting my sandals out.
from the desk of Carol Brennan King
https://www.arborday.org/trees/treeguide/TreeDetail.cfm?ItemID=835 flowering dogwood