View from Hickory Heights: Legend of Dogwood

This year my two dogwood trees have been particularly beautiful with white blossoms lasting more than two weeks. Last year the flowers were spotty so I thought maybe my tree was dying, but this proved that wrong.

Years ago, my husband and I went up on the back forty and found these two dogwood trees. He carefully dug around them and brought them down to our yard to plant into two large holes that he had ready.

At the time they were small. It took until the next year before we had a few blossoms. From that time on the trees continued to grow blossoming profusely.

Dick told me that the dogwood was his Aunt Evie’s favorite tree so this was an homage to her. By the time we planted them she was long gone.

There is a legend about the dogwood tree. It is simply a legend with little proof of what is said. Nevertheless, I include it here because of the biblical significance.

The blossoms are really shaped like a cross. They do have brown spots in them. Whoever wrote this knew the tree well.

I once bought Dick a small plaque with this legend written on it. I also had a book of legends and this legend was in there. The dogwood tree has significance to me because of that connection.

I have enjoyed the beautiful blossoms this year that remind me both of my husband and his beloved aunt. May they both rest in peace.

“In Jesus’ time, the dogwood grew

To a stately size and lovely hue.

‘Twas strong and firm, its branches interwoven.

For the cross of Christ its timbers were chosen.

Seeing the distress at this use of their wood

Christ made a promise which still holds good:

‘Never again shall the dogwood grow

Large enough to be used so.

Slender and twisted, it shall be

With blossoms like the cross for all to see.

As blood stains the petals marked in brown,

The blossom’s center wears a thorny crown.

All who see it will remember me

Crucified on a cross from the dogwood tree.

Cherished and protected, the tree shall be

A reminder of all My agony.’

Memories are strange things. Every time the children get to recalling things it puzzles me as to where I was when all of this was going on. I do not have the same memories they do. Somehow, I missed out on things. That being said, I have an excellent memory.

I remember the day we took the tractor to the woods. I rode shotgun. We also brought down some ferns to plant around the house. Some of those ferns are still around, but some have died.

Dick had a marvelous way of picturing how our landscape would develop. I, on the other hand, could not catch his vision. I told him I could not picture it, but to just go ahead with his plans. I had faith that it would be fine.

When Dick died the children and I did some planting. Of course, we hoped to retain what he had done.

Today my beds have been redone three times. The columbine that Dick planted has survived, in fact they are all over! The poppies that he planted have disappeared.

The vine my daughter contributed continues to grow in many spots. The Rose of Sharon brought from my uncle’s home is limping along. I might lose it. Don and I trimmed it hoping to preserve it. My azaleas and rhododendron are doing so well that I must trim them back.

If Dick could come back or if he can see what I have accomplished I think he would be proud.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell. Contact her at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.


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