Holy Days in the Apple Pi Inn: Holy Saturday

Any sign of life? I’ve waited to ask that question all through this icy winter and stormy spring. The problem is, I don’t know what I’m looking for. There’s been a memory wipe of gardening wisdom between my mother’s mother, Flora Belle, and me. She had two green thumbs and all the rest of her fingers knew how to help things grow. So, I’m in the dark on this bright Saturday as I search for signs of life in the dogwood I planted last fall. Is a small brown bud a good sign? How many dead branches can a life survive?

It was a summer leftover, a Charley Brown kind of a bush. It was definitely on sale; the compost pile was its next stop. I would have, should have kept walking, but looking at it made me sad. That small sad added to my deep sigh over the death of my son’s beloved West Virginia coon dog. That good dog had gotten him through college, graduate school, and into a job. I’d promised him that we’d plant a memory tree down by the riverside of the old inn. I’d gone shopping for a pine tree, but providence kept pinching me. “Rescue dogwood to honor a rescue dog.”

The dogwood legend belongs to this wholly human Saturday. A giant green tree is turned into a means of state-sanctioned torture and death. In shame it begs its Creator to remove its power, reduce its “treeness” so it could not be used for harm again. These are the embroidered blossoms that decorate my mother’s calendar/towel. Perhaps the petals are evidence of forgiveness, as the story goes.

So what are the signs of life, and when is hope ridiculous? I can’t answer that. Not today. Maybe tomorrow.