Chasing Down Redbuds Near Roanoke

Here’s another image from last week’s Virginia trip which pairs nicely with the one from yesterday’s post.  The third week in April, as it turned out, was the time for Eastern Redbuds and we spent an afternoon motoring around the spindliest roads on the Virginia Delorme Atlas looking for them. Our Toyota Echo performed well, requiring little gas and tucking itself onto the narrowest shoulders where it sniffed up spots to park. The only thing that makes this car grumpy is when you take it off the asphalt.

Back in high school we had a word for backroad rambles …shunpiking (a 19th century term describing the activity of those who avoid the main roads). We latched on. Apparently the word is falling out of use because it’s triggered a spell-check alarm. That doesn’t matter. I find it just as compelling now as I did back then.

As it turns out, it was in this same area of the Blue Ridge Mountains where I did some of my earliest shunning of pikes. Likewise, it was also where where I shot some of my first color landscapes – similar spring scenes “recorded” on 35mm transparencies. In those days, getting results called for a lengthy drive home and a visit to Central Photo in Huntington, NY. The store was a hub of photographic activity for those of us in Suffolk County and a good place to hobnob with pros.

After I dropped off my film, I simply had to wait.  Several days would go by before the slides would be ready. Time grew slow and compressed like a bottle of sorghum, the thick sweetener we’d seen for sale down in Virginia’s mountains. This was not such a terrible thing. They were long days filled with big expectations and had the effect of extending the trip.

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