dogwood . . .

by mulberryshoots

miniature dwarf red dogwoodI went to an event in a nearby town today and walked by a series of dwarf dogwood trees with unusual small reddish flowers. I picked a small sprig, feeling guilty, because I wanted to research the species when I got home so that we might find a tree or two to plant in our garden.

Dogwood is one of my favorite Spring flowering trees. I grew up in Northern Virginia, and as you may know, dogwood is the official state flower of Virginia. The classic white ones, called Cornus Florida, can be very majestic. We had a very old one with its trunk branching out in the courtyard of an old cottage that we once owned up in Rockport, a seaside town near Gloucester. I don’t care that much for the popular Kousa dogwood because it seems more like an untidy, overgrown shrub rather than a tree with a trunk, and the flowers look like flat petals that just came off an ironing board!

It’s been an interesting week. I am reminded once again how there are lessons to be learned and perspective to be transformed when one tests one’s assumptions amongst unfamiliar people. In the I-Ching, there is a saying where one finally realizes that someone we think is our worst enemy “covered with dirt,” is proven instead to be a friend and not an antagonist after all. Quite a profound realization, especially when it comes from within.

Tonight for dinner, we had sticky rice, tuna sashimi, dipped in a cooled sauce containing organic soy, tamari, sake, mirin and a little dashi. A small thimble of finely grated fresh ginger root and another small thimble of wasabi stood in opposite corners of the sauce dish. Some daikon (white radish) thinly sliced provided a cleansing crunch to the salt. I had some fine leafed kale (lacinato variety) that I chopped into large pieces after removing the center stem. Heated up some rapeseed oil (that I read about in my Japanese Farm house cookery book) sauteed some chopped scallions, added the kale and then turned off the heat so that the kale would not wilt and shrink. A couple of drops of Ohsawa soy and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice dressed the kale as I scraped it out into a bowl. Although it was a simple meal of rice, fish and kale–the condiments added complexity and made all the difference. The piquancy of the finely grated fresh ginger along with the hot wasabi in the fragrant dipping sauce made the tuna sashimi delectable to eat. Not very much of anything really, but a meal that was so good, I could eat it just about every night.

After dinner, I finished sewing on the buttons to the cable cardigan in a sky blue Rowan tweed aran yarn with white flecks that remind me of clouds in the sky or froth on the ocean for my granddaughter, A. I’ll put it in the mail after I wrap it up. I think that’s the seventh sweater or vest I’ve knitted since mid-January.

All in all, not a bad end to a couple of stressful weeks.

red dogwood 2