A Southern thing: in the space between spring and summer, while the heat creeps closer and it rains all the time, the magnolia trees start their show.
The trees are everywhere in our neighborhood, including a big one across the parking lot next to our house. Frequently, I think because the blossoms are so large and showy and heavy, the trees drop their flowers before they're done blooming. I have taken to rescuing them - plucking them off the ground and placing them in shallow dishes of water on the mantel in the dining room. They don't last long inside (nothing that beautiful ever does), but within a few hours the big creamy petals unfurl and the sweet smell brightens the room for a day or two before the whole flower crumbles, suddenly, into brown parchment.
That day or two, though.
I remembered last week to photograph one before it turned. I took it outside and perched it on branches and bushes and, for a brief moment, next to the "beware of dog" sign that does little to deter strangers from walking through the backyard.
Life has been really hard lately. I am stressed all of the time, I'm not taking care of myself, and I am responsible for so many things that I am failing, spectacularly, to be responsible for anything. It is hard most days to pause, to breathe deeply, to take a second to find a bright spot.
Those magnolias, though. Lately, I never fail to find those.