Welcome to my world - a blend of passion, taste, and old-world traditions.

Benvenuti nel mio mondo - un mischio di passione, gusto e vecchie tradizioni.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Flowering Dogwood in my Mother's Memory

      This week the dogwood tree in my garden bloomed.  Every year it blooms around Mother's Day.  Although it brings great beauty to my garden for all seasons, it also brings sadness.  Ten years ago, when my mother died, I planted this tree to keep her memory alive.   It brought me great comfort to know that a new life was being set into the earth to mark her departure.

Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) in May

Perhaps that's because a tree is a living thing.  Consider its life cycle:

     In the winter, the bare branches of this deciduous tree speak of endurance bracing against the weight of the snow and ice.

Dogwood after a snow fall

Late fall ice storm

     Miraculously, in late March you see the buds forming on twigs, a lesson of hope and renewal.  Then in May its floral display gives us beauty.

First leaves appear in early spring

     In the summer, its blossoms give way to light green leaves providing a welcoming shade.   Many times I sit on the concrete bench and reflect upon those who are no longer with us.

Concrete bench under dogwood

     In early fall, the foliage turns a stunning deep red and bright red berries ripen, a favorite of migrating birds.

bright red berries of a flowering dogwood define fall

     Then, by late November there comes the falling of the leaves, a symbol of vanishing vitality, reminding us how little time we have left and that the end is inevitable.

Year after year, the dogwood reminds me of my own mortality.