It's hardly the magnolia tree's fault, but here it is again ... starting to bloom. Last year at this time Mama was with us, lying in her bed by the window so she could look out at the changing scenery as June brought forth roses and other flowers.
She grew weaker each day, and yet the magnolia tree was in its prime. Older yellowed leaves dropped and buds formed and began to open.
Marvelously big buds that unfurled to reveal thick white petals so fragrant you could smell them from a block away.
We brought some into the front room and put them near Mama's bed so she could enjoy them.
Looking into the center of them, it was like you were looking into the center of the universe, where everything has no beginning and no end.
But endings come. This June there will be plenty of magnolia flowers to perfume our corner of the world.
The most I can hope is that there is a heaven. I can hope Mama can smell the flowers. I can hope she sees this girl of hers down below, thinking of her ... remembering her still and never, ever forgetting.