Sunday, April 11, 2010

redbud time in the mountains

There is a brief window of about one week in mid-April each spring where all the roads of eastern Kentucky are outlined in redbud. This year, as several times in the past, I was lucky to have the chance to drive the by-ways of eastern Kentucky during that magic moment. Thursday afternoon I left my home at the far southeast of the state, and headed north and west through the mountains toward Lexington and the bluegrass.

The nature of the redbud phenomenon makes it hard to photograph. The mountain roads are narrow, with few places to pull safely off the road, and the redbud--which by the way is not red but rather light purple--presses in tightly on the narrow margins on the steep hillsides. Redbud is a forest margin tree, an understory tree, much like dogwood which blooms about a week or two later.

So one goes barrelling along the highway, rounding curves to have the breath snatched away by intense borders of purple, that pass before one can even consider stopping.
Thursday was also a day of clouds and rain, which made the colors richer and more vibrant, but added even more obstacles to photography. So I will have to settle for a National Park Service photo. Imagine twenty or thirty of these trees crowded together in a long line framing a double lane winding mountain road, deep within the V of the mountains. And then imagine that being repeated over and over again, for 80 miles. It's just part of the miracle of early spring in Appalachia.

The day long workshop (on Friday) that I attended on this trip, dealt with the Open Textbook movement. One of the things we learned about in the workshop is the Creative Commons licensing alternative to copyright. You will see me beginning to explore and use the creative commons license rather than copyright in my blog -- seems a lot friendlier in the blogging. The key is allowing use for non-commercial purposes as long as the user gives attribution with every use.

The redbud photo is a public domain photo by the National Park Service, and can be found on Wikipedia.
The photo of Creative Commons License
dogwood by sgreerpitt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

1 comment:

gardenpath said...

I miss redbud trees! They don't seem to be able to live up here. The seeds I started always grew one summer, but didn't come back the next year. You must have almost the same climate as where I came from in OK. The two prettiest native trees were dogwood and redbud there, too.