Tree Notes is about trees -- especially native trees, trees for wildlife, and trees in history.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Dogwood thoughts for Easter

Dogwood symbolism


Wild dogwoodAlmost exactly one year ago, an F3 tornado swept across Christian County, Kentucky. It did a tremendous amount of damage to property and trees and created untold stress, misery and heartache, but miraculously, no lives were lost and we are thankful for that.

The dogwood in the photo at right is blooming in the midst of an area of tornado damage. It seems symbolic. Hope and life is triumphing over tragedy and ruin. It's a fitting message for the Easter season.

Someone was inspired by the beauty of dogwood blossoms to create the following "legend" in a little poem, imparting an Easter meaning to the blossoms. There's probably not even a shred of truth to it (do any trees of the cornus family grow in the Mideast?) but it's a nice story.

In Jesus' time, the dogwood grew
To a stately size and a 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.
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 this tree shall be
A reminder to all of my agony."

Author unknown

2 comments -- please add yours:

SantaHoss said...

I was searching for something to put in our Church bulletin for an Easter thought. I Came across your blog and in particular this entry...
Genevieve I thank You for reminding me of this beautiful poem. It was perfect!
You see, I am the Pastor of the Dogwood Christian Church In North Christian County. Many of my members were affected by that tornado, one lost everything she had. New Life has sprouted and I thank God for you and the reminder. May your season be blessed as you have blessed Mine.

Genevieve said...

Thanks for your note, Pastor. I'm so glad you were able to use these little thoughts. God bless you and the members of your congregation!

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Enrich your life with the study of trees.

"The power to recognize trees at a glance without examining their leaves or flowers or fruit as they are seen, for example, from the car-window during a railroad journey, can only be acquired by studying them as they grow under all possible conditions over wide areas of territory. Such an attainment may not have much practical value, but once acquired it gives to the possessor a good deal of pleasure which is denied to less fortunate travelers."

Charles Sprague Sargent (1841-1927)

Print references I frequently consult

Benvie, Sam. Encyclopedia of North American Trees. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2000.

Brockman, C. Frank. Trees of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Ed. Herbert S. Zim. New York: Golden, 1986.

Cliburn, Jerry, and Ginny Clomps. A Key to Missouri Trees in Winter: An Identification Guide. Conservation Commission of the State of Missouri, 1980.

Collingwood, G. H., Warren David Brush, and Devereux Butcher. Knowing Your Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1978.

Dirr, Michael. Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs: an Illustrated Encyclopedia. Portland, Or.: Timber, 1997.

Elias, Thomas S. The Complete Trees of North America; Field Guide and Natural History. New York: Book Division, Times Mirror Magazines, 1980.

Grimm, William Carey. The Book of Trees;. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1962.

Hightshoe, Gary L. Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America: a Planting Design Manual for Environmental Designers. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1988.

Little, Elbert L. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees. New York: Chanticleer, 1996.

Martin, Alexander C., Herbert S. Zim, and Arnold L. Nelson. American Wildlife and Plants. New York: McGraw Hill, 1951.

Mitchell, Alan F., and David More. The Trees of North America. New York, NY: Facts On File Publications, 1987.

Randall, Charles E. Enjoying Our Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1969.

Settergren, Carl D., and R. E. McDermott. Trees of Missouri. Columbia: University Extension, 1995.

Sternberg, Guy, and James W. Wilson. Native Trees for North American Landscapes: from the Atlantic to the Rockies. Portland: Timber, 2004.

Wharton, Mary E., and Roger W. Barbour. Trees and Shrubs of Kentucky. Lexington: University of Kentucky, 1973.

Wyman, Donald. Trees for American Gardens. New York: Macmillan, 1965.

Photos and text copyright © 2006-2010 by Genevieve L. Netz. All rights reserved. Do not republish without written permission. My e-mail address is gnetz51@gmail.com