Time to shine
It’s mid-April, and it’s as if the trees are trying to out-compete one another for lovely color and form. Everywhere I look there’s a tree modeling the 2014 spring fashions. I must admit, they are glorious.
There is nothing subtle about this riotous dance of color. Spring in the south has its own glories: mounds and mounds of azaleas in gaudy pinks and purples and corals and white. It’s as if they are practicing a bit of pre-summer, reminding us that the heat is coming, and they’re the warm-up show occupying the stage for now.
But in the north, it’s as if spring arrives in defiance of the cool air and the threatened chilled rains. Every proud waving branch seems to be a reminder that the cold was painful but the survivors stand. Surely nothing will stop us now.
As I was driving through Alabama I began to notice flashes and splashes of brilliant white tucked into the hillside and sometimes leaning right next to the highway. It stood out against the dark rich green of the pines, and also against the drab brown forest floor.
Because the hillsides were mostly bare of vegetation, I could see straight into the forest floor where puffs of ethereal white held court with last autumn’s dried leave and a few fallen logs.
As I glanced around I realized that the forest was full of these beauties. They were much shorter than the surrounding trees, but on this trip, their names were headlining the marquis. There was a humility in their poses, however, an elegant quietness that spoke of their knowledge that for this moment they were the stars of the show, but that their season would be brief. They would soon take a bow as the more majestic trees awakened.
It occurred to me that at any other time of the year, the dogwoods would be completely unnoticeable. They would blend in with nothing spectacular to make them stand out, looking like any other tree, only shorter. Forest dwarves hidden amongst giants.
I love that God gave them a season to shine. While the other trees are still sleeping (save the redbud) dogwood trees wake up and get busy bringing light to the drab places. It is their season. It’s their time. They aren’t by any means useless the rest of the year, but this is the only time you’re likely to notice them. And notice them you will. They are so brilliant one can’t help but rubberneck at all the glorious beauty.
I am reminded that people have seasons like that, too. They may seem to blend in now, but don’t be surprised when they walk into their sweet spot and suddenly, you can’t take your eyes of their brilliance. They were made to shine here in this tiny niche. It’s how they are wired, how they reflect their creator.
And it’s a beautiful thing.