Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Graduation -- Magnolia Blooms

A week ago she daintily crossed the stage. Twenty five years earlier she'd burst onto the scene, within moments of the space shuttle exploding.  Entering this world several weeks early and as others unexpectedly left, my firstborn daughter was never one for subtlety.  Now she has her law degree.  The sky has never been her limit.

Her grandfather cheered with tears running down his face and two fists in the air--one for him and one for his bride.

There was a time when an early morning call to the neonatal unit marked joyous gains or despairing losses.  Eventually we came out ahead, learning to savor progress and growth in small bites and never to compare her to others of similar chronology, as she set her own agenda.  Still does. 

The question frequently posed to her lawyer parents? "What will she do?"  The answer's that we are waiting to hear.  She'll let us know in due time.  Whatever it will be will be fine--and on her terms.  Reminds me of her grandmother.   

Due time is well known to the gardener.  A watched pot never boils and a watched plant never grows.  Early spring brings incremental growth.  Late spring brings bursts of growth such that the eye is barely able to register the vast changes, and keep up.  Sit back and enjoy the show.  It was the only way to go with our girl. 

Ten years ago Bill and I made a trip north of Howell to Arrowhead Alpines, a homegrown nursery with a national mail (back then) and internet (now) following.  Family trips to the Rockies had sparked an interest in Zone Four cold tolerant alpine plants--Saxifragia, lupine and mountain geraniums.  The grizzly owner reached down and ripped out a plant growing in the sidewalk, which I had admired.  "It's a weed, take it."  I did and the lamium still grows.  One man's weed is another woman's border.

Next door a magnificient Magnolia blooms like a pink cloud each May.  I wanted my own.  Mr. Arrowhead suggested an unusual strain with extra large blooms.  We left with a scrawny stick tree and promises of our own pink cloud.

 Eight years later we still had a few blooms and contemplated yanking the twisted trunk out to make way for something more aggressive.  The decision was made and an extension granted.  The blooms were lovely, but sparse. 

This year the tree sprouted graceful balanced branches and dozens of buds were ready to pop. Our wait was about to pay off--well it did, with a bit of a reduction due to a flying oak limb--but it survived.  Our sweet Magnolia will one day have its own unique cloud of blooms.  It'll be worth the wait.

These patient investments of time pay off in dividends.

There's been no better way to spend the last two and a half decades.

Just waiting to see what's next.

 It's the journey, right?