Dogwood Mornings

Dogwood bud. Photo by Dennis Brown via Wikimedia Commons

Dogwood bud. Photo by Dennis Brown via Wikimedia Commons

It’s dogwood season. The time when color comes back into the world, fragile green leaves craving the sweet kisses of sunlight. They (and we) gather it close, soaking it in, feeling the fresh breaths of spring.  Outside my back door is a dogwood tree. Most of the year, it grows unassumingly out of a concrete-enclosed hole in the ground. In the fall, it drops its leaves into brownish-red piles, piles that lay intact on the concrete patio all winter. Throughout the dark months, its presence makes our kitchen even darker, its thick branches hiding any weak rays that attempt to make their way into our cozy abode. But in the spring, our small porch is bathed with a new green hue. Leaves opaque with newness start to form a new ceiling of green.

Southeast Portland

Southeast Portland

And then come the flowers, fragile pink petals marked with precise creases in all directions. The white ones are as elegant as a bride’s dress, stark and bright against darker green, thick and luxuriant. The pink ones curve deliciously like ballerina’s tutus.

This is dogwood season. When color and beauty returns to our world in full force. When creativity abounds in the songs of finches declaring spring from their precarious telephone wire perches. When mallards rummage around in the pond, their feathery rumps wagging their approval of fine grubs wriggling along the bottom. When honeybees wave in and out of the currents of wind, delicately investigating the far reaches of flower secrets. When the sound of rain lulls us to sleep from our open windows. When the return of sun calls for closed eyes, meditative thanks, heads upturned. When a run in the cemetery is a delight, a call for shade and dappled shadows.

It is a welcome return for me, this spring. This weather. This beauty. This light. Winter is long and busy. It was a season of many mornings biking to work in the cold, drenched from the rain, straining up the hills as a tribute to some sort of exercise. Evenings huddled under blankets, creativity exhausted after dark and broody cloud-filled days. I have returned to the books as well, studying biology at the community college, my head filled with diagrams of cells and cross sections of plant stems. But I am back, after long last, to share words in this space and revel in the return to creativity and literary abandonment. I am relieved to find the time this Sunday to sit with my back door open to the sounds of the morning, with a cup of tea and delicate flower scents in my nose. I have taken time away from this space in the past to pursue other writing projects (and LIFE). But today is an equally grand return as the others. My publication page gives a bit of a glimpse into what I’ve been working on writing-wise (with more to come!) so I hope you will visit and read.

"Early Morning Moon" by Jarede Schmetterer

“Early Morning Moon” by Jarede Schmetterer

But today, to resurrect my my writing practice, I would like to declare that the mornings are my time. They are delicious in their quiet and their newness. They offer their emptiness and space to creative people to sit or walk or run and just breathe. There is so much space in the mornings. So much offering. They give us permission for slow conversations and slow movements. They give is permission for possibility. A few weeks ago, I set out early on a walk of the neighborhood. The night hung close, blustery and secretive, dark and light mixing in a navy sky like a painter’s canvas. Signs of winter were also still present, a chill ribbon of air wrenching cherry blossoms from their flowers. They were released from their hold on life, just as ballerinas dance weightlessly across a stage. Memories of night were near at hand, whispers of dreams caught in the first salutations of birds. I walked out into the air where no one dared to venture…yet. I filled my lungs with the freshness of a new day, a place of hope and promise. Wisps of the first light brightened the new green of fragile spring leaves, delicate and precarious in their infancy. Us morning walkers, in our obscurity, are quiet, wrapped still in nighttime thoughts. We hope for breezes of the new day to unwrap what still holds us to yesterday, as inside dwellers still fill their french presses. The moon hung high in the sky as my morning walk witnessed the turning of night into day.

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6 thoughts on “Dogwood Mornings

  1. “The night hung close, blustery and secretive, dark and light mixing in a navy sky like a painter’s canvas.” Great writing, Katie! I love all of this post.

  2. Pingback: On the verge | in the midst

  3. Pingback: Unfold | in the midst

  4. Pingback: a celebration of spring | in the midst

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