Apparently May is “Ride Your Bike to Work” month, but it has been so gray and wet and cold every day so far that today was the first day I peddled from Brooklyn to Manhattan. It was still gray and cold…but there was a delightful treat on the ride! Here is Brooklyn the flowering dogwoods are in full bloom and they were so beautiful…particularly the pink ones.
I have always thought that I was allergic to flowering dogwood (Cornus floridus) but there is one in my backyard, and it doesn’t seem to be doing me particular harm. Maybe I need to speak out more enthusiastically about these magnificent trees.
I was hoping to tell a myth of the dogwood in the underworld or a stirring anecdote about its taxonomic relationship to an unexpected plant, but there is less to go on than I might have hoped. When I was growing up, there was a myth that it was the tree Christ was crucified on and that is why it has white cross shaped flowers with red dots on the end, but this seems to be an American myth from the early 20th century. Wikipedia helpfully notes that “The hard, dense wood [of the dogwood] has been used for products such as golf club heads, mallets, wooden rake teeth, tool handles, jeweler’s boxes and butcher’s blocks.” I guess golf clubs are ok but they are hardly a new race of human beings.
Maybe we need to work on some myths which are as beautiful as the lovely dogwood. I am not allergic to it. It didn’t kill Christ and, in our debased mass-market world nobody cares about what mallets and rake teeth are made of. Does anybody out there have anything better for this beautiful tree? I guess we could always make something up.