The dogwood tree has been near and dear to my heart for several reasons. First, I found a piece called the "Legend of the Dogwood". This three verse poem associates the dogwood with the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Although my dogwood trees are not yet in bloom, I can see traces of what is to be. Often our lives are like that. Although we have not matured in our faith others see traces of what is to be.
Our first dogwood tree was purchased by mail order from a nursery catalog. My husband chose a pink dogwood since it was different than those that grew wild. When the "twig" arrived he planted it just off the corner of the porch. Although our specimen never flourished, it continued to grow and eventually produced beautiful blossoms - like the ones in the catalog that lured us to purchase it.
Shortly after the first blossoms we noticed a blemish in the bark. Within a couple years the bark near the ground peeled off. It was not long until the tree withered and died.
Our next venture was with the wild dogwoods. My husband went up in our pasture to dig two of the trees to transplant in our yard. Dick was very particular when he transplanted anything. Those trees had the best of care. The trees still grow, a memorial to a man with faith. Farmers have to have faith or they would not continue to sow seed and wait for the harvest.
Each spring the dogwood does not disappoint me. The one above my driveway yields an abundance of colorful white stained with red blossoms. Although the tree is now about ten feet high it is slender with that twisted look, branches punctuating the straight trunk. This year maintenance is needed to revamp the bed where the dogwood stands, but the tree will not be disturbed.
We did not remove all of the dogwood from the pasture either. They continue to grow and reproduce up there.
My husband's aunt was extremely fond of the dogwood. She often repeated the legend that drew her to the tree. When I saw a small plaque with the "Legend of the Dogwood Tree" on it, I bought it as a gift for my husband. By then Aunt Evie was long gone so it served as a reminder of her as well. Now, I have the plaque back as a reminder of two people who rejoiced in the message of the thought provoking legend.
I know nothing of the origin of the legend, but the blossoms definitely have cross-shaped blossoms with a thorny crown in the center. The petals are stained with a hue of the color red that is most certainly blood-like.
The legend drew me in the first time I read it. It is my own personal reminder of the real meaning of Easter.
Easter is not just bunnies, baskets, flowers, and egg hunts. It is a religious holiday rich in tradition and spiritual roots. It is the reason we can know that we are heaven bound.
Can you imagine someone dying on a cross just for you? That is the Easter story. Christ not only died for you, he rose three days later to fulfill the prophesy.
The Easter story is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. It gives hope, even when times are tough. Many families are celebrating Easter without a loved one this year. Each first is a milestone. May they be encouraged by the love that Jesus showed by His unselfish death and resurrection.
I include the Legend of the Dogwood for your enrichment.
When Christ was on earth, the dogwood grew
To a towering size with a lovely hue.
Its branches were strong and interwoven
And for Christ's cross its timbers were chosen.
Being distressed at the use of this wood,
Christ made a promise which still holds good;
"Not ever again shall the dogwood grow
To be large enough for such a tree, and so
Slender and twisted it shall always be
With cross-shaped blossoms for all to see.
The petals shall have bloodstains marked in brown
And in the blossoms center a thorny crown.
All who see it will think of me,
Nailed to a cross from a dogwood tree.
Protected and cherished this tree shall be
A reflection of all of my agony."
When you look at the dogwood, may you remember the message of the blossoms.
Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org