A Petrified Tree

I don’t know exactly when he died.  He seemed as still and tall and upright as ever, his arching boughs bracing the two less imposing end trees.  The garden is nearly forty feet long, on the oval, double the length of the hosta conga line that adorns the walkway–really, when I think about it, paralleling the entire length of the house.  Last year, the squirrels built their nest in the far tree, the one of all the three which is most healthy, none of its smaller trunks cleaving the main trunk but rather emerging from a robust centre…  

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Stealing Magnolias

Stealing Magnolias

It’s about twenty years old, that magnolia tree.  It ushers all visitors in to my home, standing along the walkway to the main door.  Every year, right on time, it brings its beauty to bear for all to see and relish.  It finally blossomed today, and I can smell the lovely blooms from my study as I write.  The blooms are a mix of white and not-quite-pink…sort of a mauvy pink, I guess.  I want to cut off a big branch and bring it in the house so that the loveliness and grandeur of the outdoors stays with me, sits by me, and gives me fragrance, beauty and light…but I can’t bring myself to separate the wood from the tree.  Even the wood has a say in this.  I may still…don’t know.  I’ll keep you posted.

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Invincible Summer

Albert Camus wrote:  “In the depth of winter, I finally learned there was in me invincible summer.”  Imminent, almost here, here really–well just as good as here; broaching itself as natural states do, through green buds and spuds poking through the dead-leave-lined ground as if oblivious to the decay around them.  Minuscule crocuses (I may be small, but I am mighty), magnolia buds braving the last bits of ground frost.  Early hyacinth stems (planted late last year) staking their claim to new ground and those of the stalwart alliums, cousins to the common onion yet rich and full and a powerful penitent purple when at their height.  “The Kingdom,” they all seem to say to me, “is at hand.”  As I do my walkabouts (and I’ve begun only lately), I stare and stare at clumps of green ‘midst fuzzy, messy ground and assert my wonder at them in a wordless fixity, my impatience an entity in itself for I am beside myself with an eagerness to see them grow.

The birds are back too:  the robins fight over potential worm wins, and the blackbirds over an old, high-up squirrels’ nest in one of my front yard trees.  Such violence in the face of plenty; so many trees in this region, I mean, why fight?  Why this tree and that nest when so many surround?  I like to think it’s because there is fast and easy access to my backyard birdfeeders, or more likely, Hermes, lord of the birds, ensures I have sufficient birdsong to accommodate my days and nights…Hermes, who alone among the gods, had the right and privilege of crossing from heaven to earth, is also, apart from the Muses, the iconic communicator, the courier of the gods.  Emily Dickinson wrote:  “I hope you love birds, too.  It is economical.  It saves going to heaven.”

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