When we moved into this house almost 30 years ago there was a beautiful Dogwood tree in the center of the backyard. The previous owners warned us that it was over 50 years old and not to expect too much more life out of it. But here it is still.

I have images in my minds eye and a few photos of my late husband in the hammock under it with each of our babies on his chest, of our kids swinging underneath it in their own swings later, of my son passing by as he learned to mow the lawn for the first time, of my daughter’s prom photos being taken with the tree’s branches as the filter. And there has been my own time sitting in its shade with a good book, in prayer or in mourning.

In the richness of its mid-life, the full moon and the Dogwood conspired to create a magic light reflected off of its shock of white blooms. The glow filled our family room every spring. I can picture the shadow it casts on the side of the studio in the early mornings of the fall.

It has more dead branches than live ones now. I’m anticipating its loss. I know I can’t keep it forever…and maybe not even for another year. Some trees aren’t just trees though; they are members of the family.

Recently, it sacrificed a small tip of a branch to me and I memorized it in clay. I’ll be able to keep it a little bit longer now.

Dogwood tray