Saturday we were in the Georgia mountains for lunch with our son and his fiance at the rehearsal dinner location. Afterward, Mike and I drove up to Amicalola Falls State Park to sit by the creek and read. Traveling in the South this time of year the woods are laced with blooming dogwoods. The hardwood forests only wear small, light green leaves and so the spread petals of the dogwoods show through the woods.
Our neighbor has a beautiful dogwood which is right near the fence line between our houses and it spreads out to both our back decks. We so enjoy this tree, in blossom and not.
Do you know the Legend of the Dogwood? It's said that back in Jesus' time the dogwood was a tall, straight tree with such strong wood that the Romans used it for making crosses. However, the tree felt such shame at being Jesus' cross that it asked to not be suitable for that use ever again. So from that point on the tree has been gnarled with hardly any straight piece of wood to be found on it. The blooms - four petals, two longer and two shorter, form a cross. In the center is a crown to represent the crown of thorns and the end of each petal bears the mark of a nail hole and crimson staining around the hole.
So, take a moment to look closely at a dogwood tree today and appreciate the beauty of the tree and what it can remind us of. After all, a legend doesn't have to be true to speak truth and beauty to us.