Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Redbud Winter

"Redbud winter" is a local name for a cold snap that usually occurs around the time the redbud trees start to bloom, typically during the week of Passover/Easter, and it's here now. This morning the outside temperature at the Cat Sanctuary was right around 20 degrees Fahrenheit (well below freezing point, single digits below zero Celsius). I snapped a few nice pictures of perfect, frostbitten flowers in the road, as well as these redbud and dogwood trees near the road below the Cat Sanctuary.

Yesterday we had lots of gusty wind and precipitation that couldn't decide whether it was meant to be heavy rain or very wet, slushy snow. I was almost afraid to come to the computer center today, and sure enough the mountains around Big Stone Gap had snow-capped...well, not peaks, exactly; the Blue Ridge Mountains don't have peaks. Snow-capped tops, though, for sure. However, the roads were clear and everything was open for business.

According to old folklore, the redbud and dogwood trees bloom around the time of Easter in order to remind us of the Resurrection of Christ. Some say that the Cross was made from a dogwood tree and that Judas Iscariot hanged himself on a redbud tree. (This is unlikely, since both trees are native to North America.) In any case, redbuds are supposed to remind us of the shame and sin of humankind, and dogwood flowers, which form a neat X shape and have whitish or pinkish petals with dark red tips, remind us of the Cross.

Happy Easter, Gentle Readers.

(Dogwood image from Phaewilk at

(Redbud image from Pippalou at