Monday, September 7, 2009

Dogwood Drupes




The Pacific Dogwood trees in my wildwood are red with seeds. These tight bright drupes are the transformed buttons of the spring flowers. Cornus nuttalii, Western Flowering Dogwood, is the provincial flower of British Columbia. The name dogwood comes possibly from the word dag or skewer, one of the specialized tools (which also include bows and arrows) carved from the hardwood. The wood's strength gave rise to the legend that it was the tree chosen for the Cross. Local First Nations used it also as a source of medicine and of dyes. Today we relish its beauty and the many birds it attracts. And it reminds me of a piece I wrote some years ago in honour of my mother Margaret (Bunty) who was born in Greenwood, December 26, 1925, and died in Vernon, August 8, 1993. I don't have a good picture of the real Bridal Falls (visible from #1 near the junction with #9) but many of the waters tumbling from the intruded granite plutons of the Skagit Ridge of the North Cascades are similar. Flood Falls is about 30 km east of Bridal Falls. Both easily evoke a bride's long veil and train.

Bridal Falls






Through arching green boughs draped with silver moss we ascend to the granite rockface washed with whitewater cascading in tiers from invisible Source to the tumbled boulders below. The rustle of this billowing train whispers in the echoing nave.


We have hiked this trail before. Skirting the Pixie Cups and Fairy Slippers. Tending the Shooting Stars. With child ears I still hear her telling me the understory--Five Fingers, Maidenhair, Bracken, and Sword ferns. With her eyes I first did see bruised white blossoms 'neath the canopy dappled with growth and decay.


© jmb

Bridal Falls




In this box of polished cedar I carry the woman who carried me. Defying the signs, I leave the path, break a pungent trail through fallen timber. Beneath the nurse log suckling twins, I sprinkle her into beckoning Ghostfingers, onto pallid Angel Wings. With the mist rising from Bride's veil, she vanishes into the tapestry of the grove.

I step through the falls into a shaft of light and return alone to the plain.


© jmb

Bridal Falls





My mother is not. She is moss. She is cedar. She is jade. I am no one's daughter. I am a space in the lace of Bride's crown; I am shadow dancing in the shimmer of brocade. I am willow pining, water winding home below the falls. I am dogwood centred from all the trees--in a rush of confusion as the nails enter. Say you have chosen, not forsaken me. Tell me this pain is ecstasy.


© jmb