A Miracle Like Pink Dogwood

dogwood20184

 

After all, I don’t see why I am always asking
for private, individual, selfish miracles
when every year there are miracles like … dogwood.

~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

 

foldeddogwood

 

It started last week.  The tree right in front of our porch, having looked dead for the past six months, started to bud out in subtle pink petalled blossoms. The previous week there had been nothing remarkable whatsoever about the tree.

This week it is a feast for the eyes, almost blinding in its brilliance.

Each year the dogwood startles me.  From dead to brilliant in a mere two weeks.  And not only our tree, but every other pink dogwood within a twenty mile radius has answered the same late April siren call:
bloom!
bloom your heart out!
dazzle every retina in sight!

And it is done simultaneously on every tree, all the same day, without a sound, without an obvious signal, as if an invisible conductor had swooped a baton up and in the downbeat everything turned pink.

Or perhaps the baton is really a wand, shooting out pink stars to paint these otherwise plain and humble trees, so inconspicuous the rest of the year.

Ordinarily I don’t dress up in finery like these trees do.  I prefer inconspicuous for myself.  But I love the celebratory joy of those trees in full blossom and enjoy looking for them in yards and parks and along sidewalks.

Maybe there is something pink in my closet I can wear.  Maybe conspicuously miraculous every once in awhile is exactly what is needed.

Then again, I think I’ll leave the miracles to the trees…

 

dogwood42816

 

dogwoodweb
dogwoodsunset2
pinkdogbloom
If you stand in an orchard
In the middle of Spring
and you don’t make a sound
you can hear pink sing,
a darling, whispery song of a thing.
~Mary O’Neill from Hailstones and Halibut Bones “Pink”
dogwood517
sunsetdogwood
pinkdogbloom2

Pink Synchrony

dogwood3_

pinkfrombelow

After all, I don’t see why I am always asking for private, individual, selfish miracles when every year there are miracles like <white> dogwood.   (I insert pink here)
~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

It started this weekend.  The dogwood tree right in front of our porch, having looked pretty much dead to the world since October, started to bud out in subtle pink petaled blossoms. Last week there had been nothing remarkable whatsoever about the tree.

Suddenly it is a feast for the eyes, almost blinding in its brilliance.

Each year the old dogwood startles me.  From dead to brilliant in a mere two weeks.  And not only our tree, but every other pink dogwood within a twenty mile radius has answered the same April siren call: bloom!  bloom your heart out!  dazzle every retina in sight!

And it is done simultaneously on every tree, all the same day, without a sound, without an obvious signal, as if an invisible conductor had swooped a baton up and in the downbeat everything turned pink.  Or perhaps the baton is really a wand, shooting out pink stars to paint these otherwise plain and humble trees, so inconspicuous the rest of the year.

Ordinarily I don’t dress up in finery like these trees do.  I prefer inconspicuous myself.  But I love the celebratory joy of those trees in full blossom and enjoy looking for them in yards and parks and along sidewalks.

Maybe there is something pink in my closet I can wear.  Maybe conspicuous every once in awhile is exactly what is needed.

 

dogwoodsunset2

BriarCroft in Spring

maydogwood
the old pink dogwood revives every spring
What is all this juice and all this joy?
   A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
~Gerard Manley Hopkins from “Spring”
orchardpoplar
poplar row behind the apple orchard

Awake! Awake! for the earliest gleam
Of golden sunlight shines
On the rippling waves, that brightly flow
Beneath the flowering vines.
Awake! Awake! for the low, sweet chant
Of the wild-birds’ morning hymn
Comes floating by on the fragrant air,
Through the forest cool and dim;
Then spread each wing,
And work, and sing,
Through the long, bright sunny hours;
O’er the pleasant earth
We journey forth,
For a day among the flowers.
~
Louisa May Alcott Lily-Bell and Thistledown Song I

maydadrhodie
a favorite rhododendron

It was such a spring day as breathes into a man an ineffable yearning, a painful sweetness, a longing that makes him stand motionless, looking at the leaves or grass, and fling out his arms to embrace he knows not what.
~John Galsworthy

mayupperpasture
a happy day put out to pasture
At morn when light mine eyes unsealed
I gazed upon the open field;
The rain had fallen in the night —
The landscape in the new day’s light
A countenance of grace revealed
Upon the meadow, wood and height.
 
The sun’s light was a smile of gold,
Ere shut by sudden fold on fold
Of surging, showering clouds from view;
No sooner hid than it broke through
A tearful smile upon the wold
Where earth reflected heaven’s blue.
 
The sky was as a canvas spun
To paint the new spring’s nocturns on;
A blended melody of tints —
The sea’s hue, and the myriad hints
Of garden-closes, when the sun
Hath stamped the work of nature’s mints.
 ~William Stanley Braithwaite
haflingervane
a happy day put out to blue skies in the breeze
rosemaryblossom
rosemary

Flesh and fleece, fur and feather,
Grass and green world all together,
Star-eyed strawberry breasted
Throstle above Her nested

Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin
Forms and warms the life within,
And bird and blossom swell
In sod or sheath or shell.”
–  Gerard Manley Hopkins, The May Magnificat

kaleblossom
Kale going to seed

maywildflowers

“A delicate fabric of bird song 
Floats in the air, 
The smell of wet wild earth 
Is everywhere. 
Oh I must pass nothing by 
Without loving it much, 
The raindrop try with my lips, 
The grass with my touch; 
For how can I be sure 
I shall see again 
The world on the first of May 
Shining after the rain?” 
–  Sara Teasdale, May Day

tulipapril
grape hyacinth and tulips

“Every spring is the only spring – a perpetual astonishment.”
–  Ellis Peters

dandetulip

“Some will tell you crocuses are heralds true of spring 
Others say that tulips showing buds are just the thing 
Point to peonies, say when magnolia blossoms show 
I look forward to the sight of other flowers though 
Cultivate your roses, grow your orchids in the dark 
Plant your posies row on row and stink up the whole park 
The flower that’s my favourite kind is found throughout the land 
A wilting, yellow dandelion, clutched in a grubby hand.”
–  Larry Tilander, Springtime of My Soul 

transparentmay

“Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.”
–  Robert Frost, A Prayer in Spring

skimmia
skimmia

“Poetry is the silence and speech between a wet struggling root of a flower and a sunlit blossom of that flower.” 
–  Carl Sandburg 

barnyew
yew pollen

“With the coming of spring, I am calm again. “
–  Gustav Mahler

firstpeony
the first of dozens of peonies

The wealthy man is not he who has money, but he who has the means to live in the luxurious state of early spring.
~Anton Chekhov

creepercreeping
Virginia Creeper starting to do its creeper thing

maycreeper

pinkfrombelow

maynorth
Canadian mountains to the north

“This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes,
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between
Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.
I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration
Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze
Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration,
Faces of people streaming across my gaze.”
–  D. H. Lawrence, The Enkindled Spring 

northeastmay

“The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
a cloud come over the sunlit arch,
And wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.”
–  Robert Frost 

aprilsunrise4
spring sunrise over Mt Baker

“Hark, I hear a robin calling!
List, the wind is from the south!
And the orchard-bloom is falling
Sweet as kisses on the mouth.

Come and let us seek together
Springtime lore of daffodils,
Giving to the golden weather
Greeting on the sun-warm hills.”
–  Lucy Maud Montgomery, Spring Song

oldpink

“If you’ve never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom.” 
–  Audra Foveo 

tulipsam
Sam stops to smell the tulips

“It’s spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”
–  Mark Twain

needspainting
someone is looking his age….it was a rough winter

“Every year, back comes Spring, with nasty little birds yapping their fool heads off and the ground all mucked up with plants.”
–  Dorothy Parker   😉

See BriarCroft in Summer, in Autumn, in Winter,
at Year’s End

Feast for the Eyes

There are two reliable things that take place on our farm in April besides taxes being due: the Haflingers start serious shedding of their worn winter coats and the huge pink dogwood tree in front of our house bursts into bloom as one consolation over the taxes.

We’re still currying hair from the horses–it will be another 2-3 weeks before it all lets go, as the nights are still cool and that hair feels mighty nice in the cold breezes. The summer undercoat is shining beneath that old winter hair, and glistens as it is revealed–hair flies everywhere, sticks to our sleeves and gets in our noses and mouths. As the horses groom each other they end up with hair-lined teeth and furry tongues.

Our dogwood tree, some 30 feet tall, in silent coordination with every other pink dogwood in our community, is about to bloom, and it seems now that everywhere I go there are brother and sister dogwoods that I notice only this time of year. We neighbors all share this common bond in our pink dogwoods–10 days of show before the leaves come and the pink petals rain down and the trees resume ordinary status.

These brilliant blossoms are profoundly glorious–a feast for the eyes— perfection of colored petals tipped by white, but in the middle, this volcano dome-like center that seems so primitive and out of place in something so beautiful. Yet it is that center that lasts long after the petals have melted into the ground and disappeared. There would be no future blooms otherwise. The petals are transient and soothe my winter-weary eyes, but the knobby core of the blossom is the essence of the dogwood that will be preserved even through the worst ice storm.

Profound is found in the most primitive if we remember our origin. After all, we were once dust. There is nothing more primitive than that.

And the fact we exist is the most profound of all.

dogwood during ice storm

Silent Synchrony

It started last week.  The tree right in front of our porch, having looked dead for the past six months, started to bud out in subtle pink petalled blossoms.
The previous week there had been nothing remarkable whatsoever about the tree.
This week it is a feast for the eyes, almost blinding in its brilliance.

Each year the dogwood startles me.  From dead to brilliant in a mere two weeks.  And not only our tree, but every other pink dogwood within a twenty mile radius has answered the same April siren call: bloom!  bloom your heart out!  dazzle every retina in sight!

And it is done simultaneously on every tree, all the same day, without a sound, without an obvious signal, as if an invisible conductor had swooped a baton up and in the downbeat everything turned pink.  Or perhaps the baton is really a wand, shooting out pink stars to paint these otherwise plain and humble trees, so inconspicuous the rest of the year.

Ordinarily I don’t dress up in finery like these trees do.  I prefer inconspicuous for myself.  But I love the celebratory joy of those trees in full blossom and enjoy looking for them in yards and parks and along sidewalks.

Maybe there is something pink in my closet I can wear.  Maybe conspicuous every once in awhile is exactly what is needed.

Feast for the Eyes

dogwood3_

There are two reliable things that happen on our farm in April besides taxes being due: the Haflingers start serious shedding of their worn winter coats and the huge pink dogwood tree in front of our house bursts into bloom as consolation over the taxes.

We’re still currying hair from the horses–it will be another 2-3 weeks before it all lets go, as the nights are still cool and that hair feels mighty nice in the cold breezes. The summer undercoat is shining beneath that old winter hair, and glistens as it is revealed–hair flies everywhere, sticks to our sleeves and gets in our noses and mouths. As the horses groom each other they end up with hair-lined teeth and furry tongues.

Breeding for next year’s foals has begun and the dance between mare and stallion is a rash and hurried affair, with little subtlety or mystery. Two minutes and it is done, and nearly a year later, a new life to show for it. I never cease to be amazed at how extraordinarily profound and completely primitive it is at the same time.

Our dogwood tree, some 30 feet tall, in silent coordination with every other pink dogwood in our community, is about to bloom, and it seems now that everywhere I go there are brother and sister dogwoods that I notice only this time of year. We neighbors all share this common bond in our pink dogwoods–10 days of show before the leaves come and the pink petals rain down and the trees resume ordinary status.

These brilliant blossoms are profound in their pink glory–a feast for the eyes — perfection of colored petals tipped by white, but in the middle, this volcano dome-like center that seems so primitive and out of place in something so beautiful. Yet it is that center that lasts long after the petals have melted into the ground and disappeared. There would be no future blooms otherwise. The petals are transient and soothe my eyes, but the knobby core of the blossom is the essence of the dogwood.

Profound can be found in the most primitive if we remember our origin. After all, we were once dust. There is nothing more primitive than that.

And the fact we exist is the most profound of all.

dogwood13 months ago, the dogwood in an ice storm…

and now…

dogwood5