Dogwoods, photo and poem

photo of a dogwood branch
Dogwood Branch

I’ve always anticipated the bloom time of my dogwood, and especially glad to see it this year after the heavy snow and ice in February. The flowers aren’t as dense as usual near the top, but the bottom branches are as full and graceful as always. One year as it bloomed I saw it at night, a hazy glowing shape, the light of spring that could not be extinguished even by darkness. Hence, this poem.

The dogwoods are blooming up and down my street.
The breaking of the cold,
The unusually warm, brilliant spring day
Has brought my neighbors out to wash cars and cut grass.
Like the returning birds
Their conversations drift and circle from yard to yard
And cross the street on capricious breezes;
We have been put away all winter
Like articles of summer clothing
Our potential at rest,
Yet now, even at night,
Pale, airy clouds of blossoms
Hover in the darkness all over the neighborhood.

©2005 Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I’ve never seen another dogwood like this one except out in the woods, which is where I found it. With friends, I was exploring an old abandoned farm that had been sold for development. A long row of blooming daffodil clumps lined the driveway, leading us to the spot where the house had been; only an open area was left, but it was surrounded by forsythia and roses and lilacs and Star of Bethlehem spilling around in the grass and many, many more plants which would have bloomed all through the growing season. Someone had loved growing things and so did we, so we took what we could to preserve their memory knowing they’d only be plowed under.

Off in the woods, irregular clouds of white blossoms lit the shadows along the trails, and we found lovely native dogwoods with the largest flowers I’ve ever seen, at least four inches across with lovely ridged petals and the characteristic divot at the end of each. What had been but a twig growing on a hillside in the woods is a full and fervent tree with white flowers in spring, dense green leaves all summer with bright red fruits in late summer and red-violet leaves in fall. Who could improve on that?

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