Diane Blanks, Blue Ridge Mountain Views #18: Of Mountain Voices, Mountain Spring

Published Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 4:45 pm

Blue Ridge Mountain Views

“Of Mountain Voices, Mountain Spring”


There are some language quirks here in the mountains that seem odd when I stop to think about them, tho I surely understand what they mean. I heard one the other day: “If you wouldn’t care to….” It means “Would you?”, but I’m sure the sentence wouldn’t diagram correctly. I suppose it’s left over from Middle English or somesuch and possibly poorly translated.


Pristine mountain spring...with litter. How sad. Photo by Diane Blanks.

Pristine mountain spring…with litter. How sad. Photo by Diane Blanks.

We are tentatively greeting Spring here in the mountains–though there’s always the risk that we’ll have a freeze that blackens the buds before the weather truly breaks. The trees are still withholding even a hint of green, but the flowering shrubs are starting up, with forsythia’s yellow bells lighting up the landscape wherever you look. Forsythia roots so easily that you can poke a stick in the ground and, before long, it will be leafing out. It has to be cut back each year after it blooms to keep it in hand. But its visual exuberance in the still-sere landscape makes us forgive it its rampant growth.


I have a hedge of forsythia in the back–it’s Granny’s Linwood Gold variety that she was so exceedingly proud of, with larger, denser flowers than the usual ones. Though the sky is overcast, it makes the whole back yard glow.


The robins are back now, poking around in the field looking for worms.. And they, too, are a welcome sight, along with the crowd of goldfinches clustering around the backyard thistle seed feeder–little flickers of sunshine.


Weather Update: Spring is being coy here this year. We did, indeed, have a couple of days of cold weather, including a hard frost and about 1/2″ of actual snow weekend before last, though miraculously the peach buds, daffodils and other spring flowers somehow made it through the cold with only a bit of damage.


The sarvis trees are now opening up on the mountain slopes, their creamy white blooms also a welcome sight. They are actually wild American Serviceberry trees. They are called “sarvis” by locals (including my family) from the word “service.” The story I heard was that by the time they bloom, the ground has thawed enough that graves can be dug for winter’s dead and the “service” can be held. A friend of mine told me that her grandfather used to load the family kids in the back of the truck and drive them through the sarvis trees so they could pick the berries, but I’ve never tried eating any and so wouldn’t recommend it.


News at eleven,



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