I was back in the Brim Hollow a couple of weeks ago. I still go there quite often -- more often in my mind than in reality. But I found some time to get away. So, I grabbed my shotgun and headed out.
I have often stated nothing beats a snowfall in the Brim Hollow. Springtime there comes really close. When you take the one mile walk to the head of the hollow you find yourself a world away. You have to listen really closely to hear any "road noise" at all. And when you do, it is very faint and seems so very far away. Mostly, you can only hear the "silence" of the woods.
Sometimes I just sit and listen and breathe in deeply. The air is better in the Brim Hollow.
On this spring day, as I sat and took in the hollow coming back to life, I heard the familiar sound of a woodpecker hammering away high on a distant ridge. Only a country boy would know that sound. Then, I heard the cooing of a dove in a nearby grove of trees. The flutter of a cardinal right behind me demanded my attention next. Paradise!
There's no sound quite like the sound of the wind whistling through the trees in the Brim Hollow. As I started back out that day I was met by a southern breeze drawn by the ridges that make up the hollow. It was the kind of spring breeze, accentuated by a freshness, which says rain is on the way. I found it exhilarating!
Half-way down the hollow I must have upset a turkey hen on the nest. In a thicket nearby she "let in" to a protest the likes of which I had never witnessed before. Under my breath, I whispered that I meant her no harm.
As I approached the old home place, vacated so many years ago, I remembered a dogwood I had "rescued'" several years back. It stood in the edge of a field once devoted to growing fine burley tobacco, and later pastured by wooly sheep. The tree had fallen victim to creeping vines early in its life. I had discovered it just in time. The main vine had already cut spiral groves in the tree's truck, and its limbs were being drawn toward the earth. I was pleased to set it free, and looked forward to enjoying its beauty in the future.
So, today I sought it out. After climbing a fence and negotiating pesky saw briars and blackberry vines, I found it still free from the vines I had removed years ago, though its truck still showed the spiral scars. I was disappointed to find its blooms already fading, victims of late frosts in the open air. Curiosity led me in search of other dogwoods.
Over the years I had come to the conclusion that there were only a few dogwoods left in the Brim Hollow. On this day, I found out differently. As I ventured up an old log road, it seemed dogwoods were everywhere! And the ones growing in the shelter of the woods were in full bloom -- as white as snow.
I read somewhere, many years ago, that dogwoods are considered "companion" trees. They do best growing in the shade of, or in the presence of, other trees.
As I climbed higher up the road, I found dogwoods in all shapes and sizes. Pausing to take in their utter beauty, I was suddenly transported to a scene far away.
Many, many springs ago, I found myself on a trail ride in the Great Smoky Mountains. Gentle horses took us high into the mountains along narrow ridges. From those ridges you could see down into deep, narrow hollows. And in those hollows I saw slender, dogwood trees, laden with blooms, snaking their way toward the sunlight. They appeared to be wispy, white clouds, floating beneath the forest's canopy, unattached to earth by truck or limb. It was a breathtaking sight. Unforgettable!
Much like springtime in the Brim Hollow.