For many years a solitary dogwood tree has marked the entrance to Shepherd University's western campus and greeted visitors as they cross into Shepherdstown from Maryland. Nestled beside a rustic iron gate in the crook of a beautiful stone wall that paralleled Shepherd Grade Road and then followed along Duke Street it was a much admired vestige of the bucolic Shepherdstown heritage. Scarred by the slings and arrows of many difficult years, it has managed to withstand numerous assaults lost at times in a jumble of parked cars or construction equipment. Through much of the annual cycle it fades into the background as just another tree, largely ignored, but come spring each year it garners all of its strength and puts on a majestic display of beautiful white blossoms.
It's as if it is saying, "I'm still here don't forget me."
Due to construction of the student underpass, in recent days the stone wall has been dismantled. The old iron gate is gone. The assumption is that the dogwood tree will at last be sacrificed. The price of progress perhaps, but its beauty and survival saga will not be soon forgotten.