I Remember, Magnolia

January 16, 2021. Today has been quiet, reflective on the home front. I indulged – creating a photo collage of magnolia blossoms (from Austin’s Natural Gardener in 2016) to illustrate a poem written a short while back about an encounter from a long, long while back (eight grade!) At the time I was living with my aunt in the country 20 miles from Cuero TX – her front yard filled with a large, spreading magnolia tree. I still recall the elation high in the limbs surrounded by blooms … and moving toward one “just over there” …

27 thoughts on “I Remember, Magnolia

    1. Conclusion by Aunt Mary Beth and another woman observing was that I’d had the wind knocked out of me … not sure how long “out” but I was most startled opening my eyes and seeing faces peering down at me. Johnny had been up in the tree also, and he’d had time to get down into staring position.


    1. Leah, thank you. Maybe my inner cat affiliations gave me the oomph to go up into that tree? I’d never climbed a tree before. I’ve observed multiple cats/kittens climb their first tree and it’s clear going up is more natural than coming back down.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I was a tree climber as a young child. About the act of climbing, itself, I remember only pure ease with no hesitation, and my affinity for the “being up there” and looking down upon the rooftops was utterly natural. When I was about five or six, I once got myself into trouble with a friend’s mom who thought I’d run off and was frantically searching and calling for me when she didn’t find me in the front yard. I was so surprised by the “frantic parent” thing (as my own parents never kept tabs on my outdoor doings) that I found myself unable to respond. After the mom had jumped in the car with my friend (ostensibly to begin searching the neighborhood), I casually descended, and went and sat on the doorstep to wait for Frantic’s return. Needless to say, no more playdate invitations were forthcoming from that family.

    When I was about ten years old, I extremely abruptly developed a severe fear of heights. I have no recollection of any incident having set it off (if there actually was something that happened, it’s probably just as well that I don’t remember it). Just one day, out of the blue, I climbed the ladder to use the high dive at a public pool, but when I reached the top and tried to step out onto the board, I began shaking so violently I couldn’t stay on my feet. I tried to turn around and climb back down the ladder, but the people standing in the line prevented me from descending. I inched out on the board on my hands and knees, then hung down from the edge of the board by my hands (maybe trying to get closer to the water before the drop?), and eventually let go. People cheered for me, but there was nothing triumphant about that moment. I was only shocked and confused by my body’s strange, visceral betrayal of my mind.

    Anyway, thank you for inspiring this awesome mindfulness moment!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stephanie, thank you for sharing what my post triggered. I’ve had that diving board experience!
      And I definitely “get” why you did not respond to Frantic.
      Sometime in my early motherhood years, my mother asserted hope I would not be as cautious with my kids as she’d been with us. Startled, I asked Huh? One thing she mentioned was warning us not to climb the elm tree in the front yard, for fear we’d fall when she wasn’t there (usually at work in town) … that magnolia tree was my first ever tree climb. Maybe I’d’ve been spared that day if I’d had prior tree-climbing acclimation. (And maybe not, I was in a trance among those glorious blossoms!) I did let my kids climb, and my son did fall once from about 8 feet up, but it was a series of falls from downward branches that added pauses as they flexed/broke and made his final thump to the ground not that hard. (I was there, gasping.) [My lot was lined with Australian Pines planted by a previous owner as natural fence – soft limbs, branches near trunk sturdy enough to climb, but out just a few inches flexible. Considered an invasive species in Florida, the trees my son loved climbing have been whacked down, alas.]

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Betty, thank you – I’m glad the “point” of the poem came through … as I grieve for my son, I am focused on gratitude that I had him at all, for as long as I did. There were many highs (and a few lows) during his life span – but oh my, the things I observed/learned/absorbed by virtue of being his mom! His death is a profound “grounding”, still I have simple sorrow – no anger. I’d definitely climb into that “tree” again.


  2. Jazz,
    I really like the last stanza of this where you connect mental climbing with the use of gratitude to climbing a tree as a girl. Falling is part of life and sometimes we are tripped or pushed down. Gratitude is something that helps me recenter in love to keep going.
    Wishing you wellness and peace,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ali, yes – falling is part of life, in many connotations. Gratitude is my salve of choice for whatever smarts as a result of impact. Not a cure-all for either physical or emotional damage, but it eases transition, helps me get back up. I like your phrase “recenter in love to keep going” – thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve climbed many trees but never a magnolia – that must of been so uplifting. I like how, even at that tender age, nature’s beauty could help you defy the gravity of life. Beautiful write and image.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. VJ, thank you – I remember taking those magnolia bloom photos … a spontaneous encounter in a sorta public space … I wasn’t dressed suitably to try climbing upward, but oooh the urge! That day, too, I was flooded with memories of my 8th grade magnolia encounter. Luckily, there were low-hanging blooms. And luckily I could locate the photos 4 years later to pair with poetry from recent blooming of magnolia memories.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is beautiful. The idea of being up amongst the blooms is so nice. And then wanting to go back up after you fell! Priceless! I am grateful for imagination and being able to do things, like climb this tree, over and over in our minds.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I would guess magnolia trees have lured many who would otherwise stay on solid ground.
      When younger, I climbed into the apple trees Daddy planted in our backyard – loved being up among the leaves, feeling secluded. Those apple trees had me maybe 4 feet off the ground. The magnolia limb I stepped off was likely up a good 15 feet – the tree itself enormous – I was in the middle of it – blooms all around, above, and below me.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ken, thank you for your confirmation. I am learning to smile (joy) while recalling powerful experiences that did not evoke smiles at the time but have (in retrospect) proven constructive. Motivation to live a while longer for the evolving perspectives on all that’s going on in the 2020s decade!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s