The drive down to the house is beautiful in daylight. Greening hillsides. The Ozarks fading into the distance in swells of cornflower and violet. Impossibly complex and wonderful skies. The gathering dusk. And the redbuds.

For all the years I was in New York, redbud trees were synonymous with the place I wanted to be above all others. They were the hills. The country. The fact that they are more fucsia than red always made my literal mind smile.

The redbuds line nearly  the entire route home, cheerful and bright points amidst the still-gray scrub. And something that touched me in ways I can’t really describe, the broken ones.

The winter is always a challenge to my underwhelming tree identification skills. The killing ice storm left me doubting whether there’d be anything alive to identify. But, sure enough, baby leaves are coming out everywhere, even on the struggling, broken branches. The redbuds are draped in crazy color. And the touching part, even on the redbuds snapped in two, on the barely-connected halves drooped on the ground, purple persists. The trees struggle. They likely won’t survive. But they are–literally–going down fighting. For me, it’s a breathtaking show of courage along with the color.