I have lived amongst dogwood trees for most of my adult life, but am continually astounded at the cycle of life that takes place each year. It is particularly evident in the autumn when the leaves of the dogwood begin turning a somewhat speckled reddish brown. (With over 60 varieties – yours may look very different.) Soon after the color change in the leaves, bright red berries appear (which have been there all along, just not so brilliant) and the leaves release their hold and float gently to the ground.
What amazes me in the life cycle of a dogwood is that tiny pods appear and are burgeoning with signs of new life – not in the springtime – but immediately after the leaves fall from the tree. I find this cycle encouraging. The hope of blossoming is there all winter long, enduring the frigid weather and awaiting the return of the warmth of the spring sunshine.
Sometimes the season of letting go is incredibly difficult and the dark winter days seem to abound in the seasons of our lives. New life often comes with loss and letting go. Take the time to observe a dogwood tree this fall. Are there areas in your life you would like to release? How might letting go prepare you for the transformative blooming in the springtime?
Marlayne Whitlock, MA, LAPC