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