Monday, the appraiser came. I’ve heard neither yea or nay, but I’m not too worried – the ‘hood is hot right now and the price of this place is more than reasonable. (OK, I’m a little worried…because worry is what I do. But I’m trying to stuff it down.)
Next Monday, I have the inspection. I feel certain the inspector will hate me; I am annoyingly inquisitive (and yes, if he climbs onto the roof, I’ll be right behind, thank you very much). About the inspection, I’m really not worried; I pretty much know what I’m getting into (expect the complete renovation reveal in…2020 at the earliest).
If When when the house is mine (May 29th – fingers crossed), I’ll show actual pictures thereof.
In the meantime, let’s talk about the tree that’s covering it.
It’s a dogwood (I believe Cornus florida), but also goes by other names.
“Dagwood” is among them, from “dag” or “dagger,” because this hardwood is very strong and broken-off bits make an excellent weapon (I’m a single woman in the mean city…). It was also used for arrows and tools handles, among other things.
Legend has it that the cross on which Christ was crucified was made of dogwood – and that its current gnarled shape is thanks to, following resurrection, his twisting the branches so the dogwood could never again be used for such a purpose. And the flowers are said to represent the four corners of the cross, with the red fruit representing his blood.
“Whipple-tree” or “whippeltree” is another moniker, and it’s mentioned by Chaucer in “The Knight’s Tale:”
But hoe the fyr was maked upon highte
Ne eek the names that the trees highte
As ook, firre, birch, aspe, alder, holm, popler,
Wylugh, elm, plane, assh, box, chastyen, lynde, laurer
Mapul, thorn, bech, hasel, ew, whippeltree–
How they weren feld shal nat be toold for me; (2919-24)
A pyre for a god – Arcite – apparently requires a great many species.
But my favorite dogwood tree association is found in Shakespeare…of course. That’s the character of Dogberry (the dogwood’s fruit) in “Much Ado About Nothing” – which is among my top-five favorites plays (No. 1 is a moving target).
Dogberry is a delightful idiot, known for his pretentions and malapropisms (a favorite is, “O villian! thou wilt be condemned into everlasting redemption for this!”).
So, not only will a be able to cobble together a great shop in my new basement, I’ll be able to practice MAAN lines. I shall sit on my new porch (hidden behind the dogwood tree) and yell at passersby: “Away! you are an ass, you are an ass.” It’s the late-16th-century version of “get off my lawn.”
When I get tired of that, I’ll trim the tree. And perhaps cast some daggers.
“She speaks poniards, and every word stabs.”