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By Joseph Dempsey An Atonal Symphony of Bloom

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A few weeks back, the harbingers of spring were jonquils (daffodils to some). The season their arrival portends is now in full swing here in south Arkansas — and in an unusual way, to wit: the various species are simultaneously blooming. Under normal circumstances, there may be a tad of bloomin’ overlap, but for the most part, our flowers bloom in domino sequence. Metered out sort of like romantic symphonic movements. Not this time.

Within 75 feet of my front door are blooming dogwoods, camellias, azaleas, and jonquils. I can only blame it on the weather, which for the last several weeks has been about as crazy as a herd of cattle on a jimson weed diet. The climatic conditions have gone from freeze your tush off to sweat your tush off to wade in an ankle deep gully washer. I suppose if I were a plant, my poor little genes would be catatonic as well.

Mind you, I have no complaints about these colorful conditions, the import of which did not sink-in until today when I sallied forth to shoot dogwoods. Then it occurred to me that the plants were in lockstep, not a normal set of conditions.

Speaking of dogwoods, what you see above is the standard dogwood-against-blue-sky shot. Any photographer worth his or her salt has taken the shot on more than one occasion. I have decided, however, that the not-shooting-dogwoods-against-the-sky-this-year-because-I-did-it-last-year rationalization is analogous to not celebrating Christmas this year because I celebrated it last year. Anyway, that’s about the best excuse I could conjure up.

The dogwoods, by the way, are the only flowering plants bursting forth according to the schedule I’ve grown accustomed to over these past seventy years. Dogwoods usually will bloom before the other trees completely put on their new foliage. So, if you are in dogwood country, once the trees begin their blooming binge, you can sally forth and see hundreds of them displaying their wares in otherwise drab conditions.

The enlarged dogwood blooms pictured below clearly show the brownish red tips on the petals, a symbol of the bloody ends of Christ’s cross. You gotta hand it to the Almighty, whose thoughts might have gone like this: “Since I’m in charge here, I’m gonna add the color to the petals and make those trees always bloom around Easter.” Like most divinely imposed plans, this one seems to be working well. I have no complaints. As if that mattered.

dogwood blossom

N O T E S:  
Nikon D300, Sky shot — AF Nikkor 80-200 f2.8 ED D zoom, 1/500 @ f11, ISO 200 at 200mm (35mm equivalent-300mm); Close up shot — AF MIcro Nikkor 60mm f2.8 ED, , ISO 200, 1/640 @ f13, 60 mm (35 equivalent 90 mm) both tripod mounted, extension cable tripped. Post processed in with Photoshop CS4 Extended and Genuine Fractals Print Pro.

But wait, there’s more! As in more dogwoods, trees, and blooms, plus some freshly caught crappie on our blog, Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.

Click the jump wings
to see the previous
Photo of the Week.
Click the camera
for an index to every
Photo of the Week.
weekly grist

Most of the time, there is more to the Photo of the Week story than can be told in an essay. And most of the time there are more pictures to be seen. Presuming that some folk will enjoy being privy to this trove of information, I have created a blog, “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” where I am showing and telling “the rest of the story." There are also some blatantly commercial mentions of some of the things we do to earn our beans and taters. Click on the Weekly Grist logo and go to the blog.  — J. D.


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