This week I played hooky from life — our ongoing construction project, my piles of paper, an empty fridge, gray pants and wool sweaters — and went to the Cape for a few days with Lydia and Grace to visit my parents. We biked, ate ice cream, and, on glorious Wednesday (temperature 74° F. at the coast), lounged at the beach and walked on the jetty. With my mother and sister Sally, I went to a restaurant and enjoyed a meal that (a) I didn’t cook or clean up from and (b) lasted, over drinks and four courses, way more than 10 minutes.
One can only play hooky for so long, however.
We drove home in sunshine. Back home, even warmer, and a surprise.
The magnolia in the front yard, planted and staked seven years ago by Colleen (gardener/artist) and coaxed, watered, fertilized, and generally clucked over by me, had finally — finally! — burst into yellow bloom. I’ve been waiting.
Last year there was one bud on the entire tree: the pioneer, the advance guard, a canary. This year there are multiple buds on every branch.
The buds open at their own pace. This one begins.
This one is either next, or perhaps proudly insisting on holding out for the last moment of the tree’s spring glory.
Some flowers show signs of later life; petals wither and curl and droop. Green leaves unfurl.
One doesn’t want to have to wait too long for labor and attention to bear fruit; waiting can be wearying. However, in this instance, my thrill with these profuse blooms, which arrived at their own pace, is a match for the weight of waiting, which has suddenly lifted.
Thanks to Jimmy for the camera work while staff photographer Eli is occupied with other spring concerns, most notably, rowing on the Charles River and “erging” at Simmons College with his high school crew team. (Go, Eli!)