Monday, April 2, 2012

Dogwood Trees


The dogwoods bloomed early this year, and after the heavy rain last week, all of our blossoms are under the tree.  They were beautiful while they lasted.

My Grandma, who was quite superstitious, would never let us bring bouquets of dogwood in the house lest we bring down a curse because the tree was sacred.  Grandma's story was a little bit different from the one I'm sharing, but it was the same idea.


Legend of the Dogwood Tree

        Two thousand years ago, few trees in the Middle East were big enough to construct anything. However, one tree was valued above the others for its thick trunk and fine, strong wood.

When the Romans came to rule over Jerusalem, their government used this same timber to build the crosses for executing criminals. A group of workers were assigned to gather wood for the crosses. Before long, every Roman official knew the best wood came from these gatherers of execution wood, so those workers became popular.
One day, the wood gatherers received a special request. An officer of the Roman court came and said, "The King of Jews is to be put to death. Deliver an extra-large cross made from your finest wood." So, a fresh tree was cut from the forest of the trees with thick trunks and fine, strong wood. An extra-tall (and extra-heavy) cross was quickly made and delivered.
Three days after the death of Jesus of Nazareth, the chief wood gatherer got alarming news. "All of our finest trees are withering!" the messenger whispered. The wood gatherer hurried to the forest and saw that it was true.
Several years later, the chief wood gatherer heard that, every spring, many people visited the old forest that had once made his job so easy. Despite his advancing years, he set out to discover why. He saw the remains of forest, now like a salty bottoms, with only a few trees still standing tall, bare, lifeless and rotting.

But what was this? As he drew closer, his feeble eyes could make out the people walking among thousands of beautiful, flowering bushes. Seeing one of his own workers there, the old man said, "No one could ever make a cross out of this twisted wood. Our finest tree has gone to the dogs!" He noticed the beautiful white flowers, each blossom looking as if it had been burned from the touch of a miniature cross.