Losing Dogwoods


At the time of the crucifixion, the dogwood had reached the size of the mighty oak tree. So strong and firm was the wood that it was chosen as the timber for Jesus’ cross. To be used for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the dogwood. While nailed upon it, Jesus sensed this, and in his compassion said. “Because of your pity for my suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used for a cross. Henceforth, it shall be slender, bent, and twisted, and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross–two long and two short petals. In the center of the outer edge of each petal will be the print of nails. In the center of the flower, stained with blood, will be a crown of thorns so that all who see it will remember.” – The Legend of the Dogwood

I have had a love affair with Dogwood trees for as long as I can remember. As a kid, wandering around the vast woods of my grandfather’s farm, I marveled at how these slight, bent, twisted trees grew under the dense canopy of the hardwoods towering above. In my mind, these were trees with character, distinction and a beautiful flower unlike any other in the forest.

When my wife and I purchased our home almost 20 years ago there were eleven Dogwoods on the property. These wonderful trees bloomed with my azaleas making my yard a spectacular canvas of color that was the envy of my neighbors. Unfortunately we are down to just three and after having just experienced one of the hottest, driest Summers that I can recall I suspect that we will lose one more, the last one in my backyard. The slow demise of my Dogwoods has been affected by both the climate and a disease called Dogwood Anthracnose, sadly neither of which I can control.

Fifteen years ago I planted a Dogwood that was supposedly immune to Dogwood Anthracnose. The sapling was one foot tall when I planted it in my azalea bed. Fifteen years later, it has grown a total of two feet. At that rate of growth, I am afraid I won’t be around to ever see it bloom but I hope that it will survive for another generation to enjoy the pleasures of my memories.

My grandmother told me the story about Jesus and the Dogwood many years ago. It is a silly tale but certainly an envious one. It is a story that cured the questions and imagination of people long before we could Google to get the “facts”. But never the less, this simple, remarkable tree has a story, a reason why. Sadly, it just makes my loss that much more heartbreaking.


About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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7 Responses to Losing Dogwoods

  1. samanthamurdochblog says:

    Wonderful story! I love these folk tales, like how the donkey got the cross on its back..
    Great post, although I’m very sorry about your dogwoods 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Belinda O says:

    I’d never heard the Legend of the Dogwood before. It’s a sweet tale.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Will says:

    My old house had a mature crab apple in the side yard. I loved the dark red blossoms. Spring had arrived. Hated the fruit when mowing or the every other day sweeping the sidewalk in the Summer sun. It probably was a loathing of mowing. i have a firm belief wildflowers and gardens are a better way to spend a weekend.
    Michigan had a huge amount of Ash trees. First all the elms. Now there are entire areas of dead trees that the local governments don’t have the money to remove. Lucky there aren’t anymore Ash trees around to infect. Kudos to being in the same place for 20 years.

    Liked by 1 person

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