Every year I watch for my first sight of redbud trees beginning to bloom. Along with fruit trees like peach and pear that blossom early, and narcissus spears pushing up to sport their fragrant white blooms plus bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush and other wildflowers, these heralds of the coming of Spring precede the calendar date in our area and bring a smile to my face and gladden my heart. In the woods of Northeast Texas where Joe and I grew up, dogwood spreads its blooms in dark piney woods also. I do not see dogwoods here in South Texas, but I always include them when I think about this season,. Long before Easter eggs and pastel Spring clothing, these flag my attention and lift my spirits, particularly this year when Easter comes in mid-April.
Each year, one of my favorite harbingers of Spring is the sudden appearance of Redbud blooms on the gray scraggly branches of what has been an almost unnoticed small tree in someone's backyard or the woods along the road. In the Piney Woods of East Texas where my husband and I spent our growing up years, the first blooms seemed to signal to dozens of other early blooming trees that it was Spring again. The woods lining the highway between Jacksonville, Texas and my grandparent's smaller town of Bullard seemed to come alive in a patchwork of wild plum, dogwood, and various shades of purple from the Redbud trees. We see fewer here south of Houston, but the fact that they bloom even earlier in the slightly balmier climate makes them stand out even more. The first blooms bring my biggest smile. I like being reminded of the joy they brought me as a child. And they bring fond memories of my mother and daddy and grandparents who first taught me to watch for them.