Have you ever heard the legend about the dogwood trees? There are several versions to consider. It was said that lumber men harvested trees to make crosses for those to be executed by crucifixion. It was a business – an income for them. When Jesus was to be crucified, the order came to choose one of the biggest, strongest trees in the woods. They did this and formed the cross that was to be used in the crucifixion of Jesus.
After his death, when they went back to the woods to harvest timber for other crosses, all of the mighty trees of the type used for the cross of Christ were withered and dying. In the forest had sprung up little trees, twisted and small – far too little to ever be used for building crosses in the future. Their wood could never be used again in such a way. And in the springtime, these trees produced a flower in the shape of the cross with a crown of thorns in the middle to remind all who would see them of the death of Christ upon a cross and His resurrection.
I have always loved dogwoods. They were in bloom in the springtime when my family would make the long journey south for spring break and our Easter holiday week. One year my grandfather (who had 14 children and dozens of grandchildren) sent a letter to me with a single dogwood blossom enclosed. He was not a man of letters. Someone else had been enlisted to follow his instructions, get the address and put the flower in the mail to me. We were not going to be there that year for Easter.
I never heard of him sending another grandchild anything through the mail, or even a child. That dogwood blossom was precious to me. I had it encased in plastic and carried it in my bible for years until it was lost. Still I remember how he would let me walk with him into the pastures and the meadows of his mountain farm and point out to me all the little plants coming back to life in the spring. He told me his story of the dogwood and I have never forgotten. Every spring I think of him and the legend of the dogwood when new life begins to appear on the mountain slopes. I welcome the white petals of the wild dogwoods that grow abundantly in this region.