I happened to get gas at a little town on I-44 named Cuba, which according to my Rand McNally atlas was the turn off for a scenic drive on, um, 19 (and then I took 32, I think, to get back to the interstate). It's been years since I drove through Missouri in the spring. Then I went to visit my aunt with my mom and sold at a little craft show—it was dismal, but oh my goodness, the redbud and flowering dogwood were just spectacular: even my mom, who grew up there thought it fine.
This time the redbud was once again beautiful, but I saw many fewer dogwood—my aunt claimed it was just a tad early for them, but I worry that anthracnose has killed many of them. The flowering pear was a slight consolation; and this little fishing access yielded a surprising number of interesting wildflowers, some of them even natives. As I've gotten older, I've come to appreciate the softness of color during misty rainy days: the rain stopped long enough for me to take these pictures, but loaded petals with lovely, silvery water droplets.
I actually discovered what this was on my return leg of the journey, in Illinois: bluebells. Perfect. I really appreciated the coolpix's ability to swivel the lens: I positioned the camera under the flowers, but could still see the monitor. Two of the middle blooms were so dark that I fooled around with gimp's curves feature to lighten them—I liked the quality of the picture so much I felt messing with it was justified.
Another flower identification for which I have that illinois rest stop wildflower poster to thank. I've never seen this variety of trillium before, at least not growing wild in MI.
My favorite spring trees are dogwood, cherry blossom and redbud—all just glorious harbingers of my favorite season.
A closeup, with supposedly Asian sensibilities toward composition. (Not.) I was also trying to get the redbuds in the distance to blur and provide a pink backdrop.
More pretty cherry/rose blossoms: and, like the redbud, a major pest to photograph because the breeze kept whipping them around.
I thoroughly enjoyed this part of my detour on back roads, as well as the challange of driving on the twisty hills: I can remember stories of getting stuck behind trucks on these roads, before the interstates. And my mom's comments about furriners, who you could always tell cuz they slowed down on the curves and sped up on the straights. I tried not to be furrin, but driving on curves going up and down hills is a little different than on flats (e.g. freeway entrances and exits, about the only time I get to practice in MI.)
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