Friday, September 5, 2014

4 seasons: a magnolia story

"Like the magnolia tree,
She bends with the wind, 
Trials and tribulation may weather her, 
Yet, after the storm,
her beauty blooms,
See her standing there like steel,
With her roots forever buried,
Deep in her Southern soil.
-Nancy B. Brewer, Letters From Lizzie

A long time ago (over 25 years to be exact), I gathered together with some girlfriends from high school to have some pictures taken. One of the girls in our tight group of friends had a father who ran a local photography studio and, from time to time over the years since our childhood, we regroup to take a "look where we all are now" picture to preserve the day together. On the occasion of this particular gathering, I was about to get married so I brought along my wedding dress for a few more pictures. The dress had not yet been altered so we goofed around trying to peg it tight across the front with photographer's grips, and piled my hair up in a make-shift "bridal up-do". At the last moment, the photographer handed me a large artificial magnolia bloom to hold as a prop as it seemed fitting with the canvas background.  One of the girls laughed and said "Well, wherever you end up living, you've got a portrait that looks like something out of Gone with the Wind!"

We married in Spain and traveled the world over to places like Australia, Tasmania, Fiji, and England and we chose to settle in a quiet neighborhood in Charleston in a home with a giant tea cup magnolia tree in the front yard. All these years have passed, babies have been born,  loved ones have passed on, and the tree weathers on through hurricanes and ice storms. I have come to know and love the seasons of the magnolia bloom and often pause to admire it from the window next to where the prophetic portrait hangs. I am home.

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