My yellow magnolia is a late bloomer. By “my yellow magnolia,” I mean the one which the University Arboretum has been maintaining for me. By “late bloomer,” I mean it blooms about a week after the pink magnolias uncup their buds and drink in whatever the spring skies give forth. This tree is easy to locate; in the spring, it is the only yellow tree on the entire grounds.
Honestly, I was a little disappointed last weekend when I went for my annual visit to the yellow magnolia. The long, puckered petals untwisted randomly from its upright buds, forming asymmetrical shapes that didn’t seem to say “flower.” Their color was pale, barely more than cream, when butter is the shade I remember. The branches were thick with jagged twigs, tipped with lonely flowers on the very end, an odd mix of over abundance and isolation.
I stayed with this tree for a long time. I love it so very much. Maybe I feel we are alike in some ways, taking our losses with the risk that later, when the time is right, our potential may not quite be reached. We make what we can of the moment, when it comes, and feel a certain gratitude for what is gained, which is, after all, another shot at another imperfect moment, this time, next year.