In our corner of North America the flowering fruit trees are in full bloom, as always accompanied by oh's and ah's. For my taste, their blossoms are a bit gaudy. I am waiting for the dogwoods. To my eye there is nothing in bloom as beautiful as the creamy flower of the dogwood, dancing like butterflies at the edge of the woods. Several years ago at this time of year we were in the Appalachian Mountains, driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The dogwoods flashed like the petticoats of dancers in the soft spring breeze. They don't need to shout "look at me" as do the plums and cherries. They are lustrous and rich.
The dogwood offers tight-grained wood, used where strength matters. Loom shuttles, tool handles, early laminated tennis rackets and golf club heads were fashioned from dogwood. Dogwood twigs have been used for centuries to clean the teeth - bite the twig and scrub.
I planted three dogwoods outside my office window and I see the first leaves forming today. The cherry blossoms have littered the sidewalk. I will hold my applause.