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Feast for the Eyes
January silver thaw on dogwood branches, and then three months later....
There are two reliable things that happen on our farm in April besides taxes being due: the Haflingers start serious shedding of their worn winter coats and the huge pink dogwood tree in front of our house bursts into bloom as consolation over the taxes.
We're still currying hair from the horses--it will be another 2-3 weeks before it all lets go, as the nights are still cool and that hair feels mighty nice in the cold breezes. The summer undercoat is shining beneath that old winter hair, and glistens as it is revealed--hair flies everywhere, sticks to our sleeves and gets in our noses and mouths. As the horses groom each other they end up with hair-lined teeth and furry tongues.
Breeding for next year's foals has begun and the dance between mare and stallion is a rash and hurried affair, with little subtlety or mystery. Two minutes and it is done, and nearly a year later, a new life to show for it. I never cease to be amazed at how extraordinarily profound and completely primitive it is at the same time.
Our dogwood tree, some 30 feet tall, in silent coordination with every other pink dogwood in our community, bloomed this past week, and it seems now that everywhere I go there are brother and sister dogwoods that I notice only this time of year. We neighbors all share this common bond in our pink dogwoods--10 days of show before the leaves come and the pink petals rain down and the trees resume ordinary status. These brilliant blossoms are profound in their pink glory--a feast for the eyes -- perfection of colored petals tipped by white, but in the middle, this volcano dome-like center that seems so primitive and out of place in something so beautiful. Yet it is that center that lasts long after the petals have melted into the ground and disappeared. There would be no future blooms otherwise.
The petals are transient and soothe my eyes, but the knobby core of the blossom is the essence of the dogwood. Profound can be found in the most primitive if we remember our origin.
After all, we were once dust. There is nothing more primitive than that. And the fact we exist is the most profound of all.
April 18, 2004