the magnolia manifest

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Every spring soft bursts of magnolia flowers erupt like flower popcorn on the row of trees in our garden, exploding forth in glorious profusion day after day until the branches are completely laden with beauty.

Magnolia Grandiflora. Even the name is beautiful and stately.

There is a term in interior design, “visual reward”, and I always think of it when I walk down the corridor linking my office to our kitchen with my cup of tea, where a magnificent magnolia tree is the visual reward at the end of that well trodden axis. It is most stunning at dusk when the fading light turns the huge blossoms a surreal luminous silvery pink.

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All forms of happiness contain within themselves the seeds of their own decomposition and renewal. Our driveway is now lined with lush, velvety petals each the size of a baby’s hand. They fall in droves now, lying in the snowy drifts, until the Irishman rakes them into the compost pile, where they will rot, break down and be spread on top of the roots of the other living things in our garden.

We will not feel sorry when the magnolias are gone. They never really leave us, but just change manifestation, dissipated into the good earth of our garden and tinting my nighttime dreams the palest pink of springtime hope.

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