#ThursdayTreeLove | The Legend of the Dogwood

The tree blossoms have pretty much come and gone in these parts, so it’s nice that #ThursdayTreeLove gives us an opportunity to revisit the blossoms of early spring. Since we celebrated the Resurrection of Christ (Easter) a few days ago, I’m sharing my bunch of dogwood photos along with the “Legend of the Dogwood.”

There is a legend that at the time of the crucifixion, the dogwood had reached the size of the mighty oak tree and other forest trees.

So strong and firm was the wood that it was chosen as the timber for Jesus’ cross.

To be used for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the dogwood.

While nailed upon it, Jesus sensed this, and in his compassion said: “Because of your regret and pity for my suffering, never again shall the the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used for a cross.

Henceforth, it shall be slender, bent, and twisted, and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross–two long and two short petals.

In the center of the outer edge of each petal will be the print of nails.

In the center of the flower, stained with blood, will be a crown of thorns so that all who see it will remember.”

Even though this is a cute story, keep in mind that there is no truth to this legend. Dogwoods do not grow naturally in Israel and would not have been used for the execution stake.

I shot the dogwood photos with my iPhone one cloudy day and with my “real” camera another  [brighter] day. The first three shots in the posts are iPhone photos; the others are Canon photos. Although I’m impressed with the flexibility of the upgraded iPhone camera, it’s still no match for my Canon.  🙂

Be sure to tune in to the next #ThursdayTreeLove. I have more tree blossoms to share!


I am joining Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.

Autumn: Brilliant Leaves, Happy Mail, and Seven Reasons Why

Last week the temperatures finally dipped into the 50’s and this morning we woke up to 30’s and a freeze warning. I am excited that autumn has finally made an appearance–in terms of temperature at least. [Note: I live in the South, so temperatures may well be in the upper 80’s or even lower 90’s by the end of the week].

I searched for signs of autumn while taking a short walk last week. There was little indication of the season’s change, but I was elated to find autumn leaves on a favorite Dogwood.

It is delightful watching this tree transition over the months, and though I look forward to the blossoms in spring, its autumn leaves beautifully illustrate why I love the season.

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My penfriend/love notes pal Andrea recently sent a bit of autumn-inspired pocket mail. In the one of the pockets she enclosed a list of six reasons why she loves autumn.  [Click an image for a closer look].

Andrea ended her list by inviting “me” to share why I love the season. Of course, it doesn’t take much to get me to extol the virtues of autumn, so here are [my not necessarily top] seven reasons why autumn is my favorite season:

  1. Changing colors of the trees and foliage–especially now that I live in a place where I can see the brilliance of the season
  2. Milder temperatures–long-awaited relief from the oppressive southern summer and a short break from budget-busting utilities bills
  3. Boots and sweaters
  4. Hot chocolate/cocoa and popcorn [yum!]
  5. October–the best month of all!
  6. My new favorite throw [a birthday gift from a new friend]–chocolate brown, leaf embossed, plush–perfect for movie nights
  7. Pumpkin everything–except I’m not too impressed with Krispy Kreme’s pumpkin cake donut. It would be soooo much better if they’d lose the sugar/glaze on top

How about you? What do you love about autumn?


[Also, linking up with Dawn of The Day After in the Festival of Leaves photo challenge]

Suddenly…Spring

I dream’d that as I wander’d by the way
Bare Winter suddenly was changed to Spring,
And gentle odours led my steps astray,
Mix’d with a sound of waters murmuring
Along a shelving bank of turf, which lay
Under a copse, and hardly dared to fling
Its green arms round the bosom of the stream,
But kiss’d it and then fled, as Thou mightest in dream.

–Lines 1-8, “A Dream of the Unknown,” Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

Photo Walk: First Day of Autumn Sightings

I’ve been craving time with my camera, so yesterday I arrived at work 30 minutes before conferences with students were scheduled to begin and took a brief walk–camera and iPhone in tow. As expected, there weren’t many signs of autumn, but the walk provided a refreshing start to my day and a clear mind as I headed into the weekend.

My campus walks always start with the trees. The oaks did not disappoint with their gnarly trunks and roots. The fungus attracted my attention here.

Notice the resting ent?

I wonder how he got here from Middle Earth. Or is he a tree troll?

The Dogwoods have so many interesting transformations throughout the year. I’ll have to make a point of charting the changes one year. They’re showing signs of autumn.

Of course, the evergreen deserves admiration all year long.

It wouldn’t be the first day of autumn in Alabama without butterflies and pink.

It’s about to take flight…

A morning walk requires a squirrel.

A couple of bonus photos shot earlier in the week: One provides proof of autumn.

And a tree I encounter (almost) every time I take a campus walk. There’s so much to love and study.

As I’m reviewing these photos, I’m thinking about my older brother, Dennis–a photographer–and feeling a strong connection to him through our mutual love for nature photography. I’m praying him through a medical crisis and sending hugs and deepest love from the Deep South to the West Coast. I love you, big brother!

Blossoms Today…Gone Tomorrow

Winter seemed endless, but spring is leaving (read: has left) all too quickly.  We still have about 2.5 weeks until the “official” beginning of summer, but we’ve been feeling 90 (or near 90) degree temperatures here in Northern Alabama for a few weeks now.  We won’t even mention the humidity!

Spring is far too short for a person like me.  I do not like long, cold winters, and the only thing I like about long, hot summers is remaining indoors with the air conditioning.

Nearly two months ago, I celebrated the mild temperatures of spring with a photo walk around campus.  I referred to this walk near the end of a previous post–it began with failed tulip photos (probably because I wasn’t willing to get down and dirty–literally). Even though the tulips disappointed me, I’m pleased with the pretty blossoms I captured.

Cherry Blossom by Me, April 2014

“Cherry Blossom: Oakwood in the Spring”, April 2014

I’m so happy I decided to take a walk that particular day because a few days later, when I took a walk to the campus market, the blossoms were G-O-N-E!

The dogwood “blossoms” were on their way out too.  I altered the photo (below) with a grunge overlay because I’m using it as part of a gift. Shhhh…don’t tell.

Dogwood by Me, April 2014

“Dogwood,” April 2014

A week or so after I photographed the dogwood I received this beautiful photo postcard from Rebecca, my swap-bot pal and colleague in academia.

“Dogwood in Arkansas” by Rebecca R., Spring 2014

Rebecca captured her photo in early April, probably around the same time I shot mine!  How cool is that!  Like me, Rebecca carries her camera (almost) everywhere.  I’ll have to share some of her other beauties in a post soon–maybe, my next post.

Here are two more photos from my early April photo walk:

Pretty in Pink, April 2014

“Pretty in Pink,” April 2014

I have no idea what this tree is called–and frankly, I’m too lazy at the moment to find out.  It rests near “my building” and goes through a number of beautiful transitions throughout the year.

Pretty in Pink (even closer), April 2014

“Pretty in Pink II,” April 2014

Finally, here’s a pear blossom tree I shot on a March afternoon while running errands:

Pear Blossom, March 2014

“Pear Blossom,” March 2014

I am so grateful for earth’s casting off the dull, hard covering of late winter and showing off the revival of her beauty.  I will be enjoying this display all summer long.  Through photographs.  Indoors. In my air conditioned home.