By Nancy Black
“Dogwood trees mean Easter, to me,” I said to a friend the other day. She looked at me like a dog hearing a strange sound — you know, with her head kind of cocked to the side. I explained that, when I was a little girl running through the piney woods of East Texas, I was taught the petals of a dogwood tree represented Jesus’ four limbs. The little red scars on the tree’s white blossoms? Those were where He was crucified.
Spring is like a resurrection to me. The barren trees without leaves. The crispy brown remnants of what used to be grass. They all begin to be reborn this time of year. It’s almost like a do-over or, better yet, a fresh start for nature and for me.
I feel extra fortunate this year because we are living in a new home. We have never seen what spring looks like in our own backyard. It turns out, we have wild irises. I can’t wait to see what color they are. We also have a tree that grows those “Horton Hears a Who” pinkish puffs. I thought it was called a Formosa tree but my friend, the dogwood one, googled it and found it is actually a mimosa tree. You say mimosa. I say Formosa. Either way, I love those trees and, it turns out, now I have one in my own back yard. I consider it an extra-added bonus from the universe.
I also went all out this year and bought tulip bulbs from the Dallas Arboretum’s yearly sale. I darn near broke my old back and my right hand from tilling the hard soil and digging the deep holes needed to plant the bulbs. But it was all worth it, because now a mere two months later, I have a gorgeous splash of flaming orange tulips adorning my front yard.
I guess the seasons are like life. Sometimes it’s cold and dreary. Sometimes it’s too hot to handle. And sometimes, even if it’s for only a few brief moments of the year, it seems absolutely perfect.
And what’s in my friend’s back yard, you wonder? It turns out — she has a dogwood tree.
Happy Easter and happy spring!