Today’s find: Dogwoods

Our dogwoods are in full bloom this week. And that means different things, on different trees.

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Big Daddy Dogwood

The tree in our front yard has been there for 20+ years, planted as part of the initial landscaping we did on our tidy suburban plot. Fully mature, it really is gorgeous this time of year—especially when the mid-morning sunlight catches its variegated petals against the backdrop of a powder blue sky.

There’s a dogwood in the back yard, too: Much younger, planted as a sapling about four or five years ago. Because it sits under the spread of an enormous burr oak, this dogwood doesn’t get much sunlight. It competes for moisture with a bed of ivy and several nearby boxwood bushes, as well – conditions that probably help to explain its rather lame display of flora compared to its dazzling cousin.

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The Little Tree That Could…

Still, both trees touch my heart and fill my soul with gladness.

The Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins had it right, I think, when he wrote

‘Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –

When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush…

What is all this juice and all this joy?

A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning

In Eden garden…’

 

All this juice and all this joy: It’s there, in both of those dogwoods, I think – just as it’s present in each one of us when we remain connected to our Taproot: the Christ, the Vine.

Does the Lord love any one of us less, if our buds burst but once or twice…instead of a hundred times?

No, he is patient with each of us, and tender – the loving Gardener, trimming away our entanglements, giving us time to grow.

He is faithful in his promise, too: ‘Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit.’

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