Until one day last week, the naked magnolia tree still had one brown leaf, dry as old skin, cracker-crunchy, pressed right up against the living room window. Every time there was a storm, I would watch the leaf closely for movement but it was pretty much glued to the tree. It was not leaving.
“It’s still there!” I would comment every few days over breakfast. “Dumb tree. Dumb leaf.”
One morning Saint Aardvark got up from his chair and moved over to the window.
“Here, why don’t I just take it off.”
“No!” I said, “It has to fall off on its own. It’s the tree’s business, not our business.”
You know? If the tree wants to grow and be all leafy and can’t even get it together to shed all its leaves in a timely fashion? Who am I to help nature along. It’s like that story about the baby sea turtles. Don’t help the sea turtles!
A few days later, the leaf was gone. I asked SA, did you take off that last, brown leaf that I hate? And he said, Mmm mmm. And waved his hand around because — oh suddenly his mouth was full of important food. Sure.
Speedy magnolia. In the past few days, despite the weather being cold and snow-rainy, I have seen the buds on the tree turn to blossoms and the blossoms start to thicken. I am lost in the past six weeks of sickness and have no idea what day is what anymore; my to-do lists are ignored and then flagrantly recycled and I’m pretty sure there are woodland creatures living in my hair, but the tree knows what day it is, what week, what month.
It is magnolia season. Showtime.
I say: it feels colder than last year, there’s been more rain than ever, surely, we’re having elections again and the outcome will be the same, it’s all so useless, I can’t get 15 minutes to myself, and I only want 10, there is no progress, only our feet trudging around and around in circles, when the rain stops we go to the playground and we come home with viruses and the rain starts again and we stare at each other and nothing changes.
The tree says: it’s almost time to bloom. This is it. A year has passed. Everything I have done until now makes this moment. Everything I do after this moment leads to the next one. I don’t think. I just bloom.
The Reverb folks have been sending monthly prompts to willing participants since the beginning of 2011. The prompt for April is “What is blossoming?”