Dendrographia


Dendrographia (den-dro-graf’-ia): Creating an illusion of reality through vivid description of a tree.


This mulberry tree just showed up in my back yard one spring. It was about 2 inches tall and looked like a weed of some kind. I didn’t care if it was. I wanted to let it grow and find out what it was. Over the next five year I diligently sprayed it with deer repellent and carefully mowed around it when I cut the grass, and it grew, starting to look like a tree with brownish silver bark and fattening limbs. And it kept growing. Now it is about forty feet high with symmetrical spreading branches. In summer, it leafs out and bears little white mulberries that turn dark purple as they as ripen. When the berries come, the tree becomes packed with Cedar Waxwings, which do not show up any other time during the year. I think they are beautiful birds and I don’t care if they strip the tree of berries.

Sometimes I stop to consider how all this began: a single seed landed from somewhere and, with minimal care, made a pretty big tree. I know this sounds crazy, but sometimes when the wind rustles through it’s leaves it sounds like the mulberry tree is saying “hug me.”


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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