Eastern redbuds are shown in full bloom on the author's property near Fairfax.
Eastern redbuds are shown in full bloom on the author's property near Fairfax.


For the last half-century, give or take, I've had the southern Ohio pleasure of watching the change of seasons.

By the calendar, each year begins with winter's hangover from the previous year. The coldest season soon gives way to spring, which passes the seasonal baton to summer, which, much to my chagrin, seems to surrender far too soon to autumn, which similarly throws up a white flag to winter in late December.

And so it goes. Year after year. Season after season.

After the so-called cancel-culture-coronavirus year of 2020, the spring of 2021 brought, albeit briefly, a spirit of renewal. But just when we thought – through the words of taxpayer-funded public officials – the pandemic was about to run its course, it's reared its ugly head once again. (For those who may care, my uses of "its," "it's" and "its" in the same sentence are appropriate. The first and last usages are neuter pronouns. The middle usage is a contraction for "it has." Lessons are free today. I'm in a generous mood.)

Frankly, I've read and heard enough about the CoVid-19 pandemic for the past 14 months. I know, firsthand, its impact on my family, my friends and my business – and many other businesses and their owners, families and friends. It's been with us for more than a year. It's real. And it's time for it to leave us all alone.

Granted, it does seem that some public officials (Fauci comes to mind) seem to enjoy their newfound celebrity in discussing the virus for days, weeks, months – let's hope not years – on end.

I've done my best as a business owner to heed their alleged words of wisdom. In the past 14 months, I've purchased more cans of disinfectant, more disinfectant wipes and more hand sanitizer than I've purchased in the previous 700 months of my time on this earth.

Has it made any difference? I like to think so, given my new weekly expenses; but really, who knows?

What I do know is this: The spring of 2021 has brought forth the most glorious bouquet of Eastern redbuds (also called the Judas tree) and dogwoods together that I've ever seen. In a typical week, I drive 600 miles across six or more southern Ohio counties. Trust me, the timing of the redbud and dogwood trees coming into bloom together is perhaps better this year than ever. If every spring brought such an abundance of redbuds, perhaps Adams County would still be celebrating its annual redbud festival.

It's common for the redbud tree to show its colors a week or two before the dogwood each spring. That held true this year, but the dogwood wasn't far behind. For one thing, we did not have an early spring blooming followed by a hard frost or a severe thunderstorm or windstorm. As of this writing, all that remains true.

This weekend, we drove through Adams, Highland, Pike and Ross counties and settled on an early dinner in Chillicothe. My lasting impression of the day was of just how well the redbuds and dogwoods are getting along this year, regardless of their respective and glorious colors.

Maybe all of us can learn a little something from the springtime coming together of the redbuds and dogwoods.

Let's hope, and let's appreciate Mother Nature's seasonal gift. Enjoy it while we can.

Rory Ryan is publisher and owner of The Highland County Press, Highland County's only locally owned and operated newspaper.