Something Arresting…

“Magnolia Tree” by Christine B.

Earlier this week, while escaping my ice-cold office and collecting warmth in the tree-adorned area just outside, I looked up and noticed a flash of red in the magnolias. The seed pods were exploding with color. In awe, I simply paused and allowed the beauty to wash over me.

My penfriend, Christine, must have been awed by the magnolia’s beauty too. She enclosed with a birthday card the precious gift of a magnolia watercolor that may have been inspired by my spring magnolia post. [The scan above does little justice to her art]. She perfectly captured the creamy white with just a nod at yellow. What appears gray on screen is actually silver, and those silver and green splashes capture and “emote” the experience of being in the actual presence of the tree in bloom.

Sparkly. Tingly. Beautiful.

Pavithra Mehta’s declaration regarding the magnolia warrants repeating, so I’m thankful Christine reminded me of it.

There is something arresting and unearthly about a magnolia tree in flower. Something that dances between divinity and dementia.

This weekend may you pause for a moment and give into the beauty of some thing, some one, some moment; may you allow it to grip you and wash over you, to soak into your skin, permeate your being, and change some part of who you are.


Side Note: I began interacting with Christine, the artist, via Jennifer Belthoff’s Love Notes project. In the few years since we met she has become one of my treasured friends. If you love snail mail, meeting new people, and sharing your light, consider participating in the next round of Love Notes. It begins October 13, so get signed up today: Love Notes 29.

#ThursdayTreeLove | A Second Chance with the Japanese Magnolia

Spring is definitely here in Northern Alabama! I’ve been enjoying the buds and blossoms and looking forward to those that are on the way. I was on spring break when the Japanese magnolia on campus blossomed, so I completely missed opportunities to photograph the tree. However, when my cousins [who live nearby] posted a photo of a newly farmed patch of land on their property, I spied in the background the pink blossoms of the tree!

The magnolia was in no way the focus of the photograph, but those blossoms commanded my attention.

A few days earlier–while photographing the purple tulips–I remarked to a friend that I missed the magnolias this year. I can’t remember what prevented my pausing for a few shots [after dropping my son off at school]. Was it rainy weather or a desire [read: need] to spend all free time during the break sleeping?

The tree offered forgiveness for my neglect of its earlier splendid display, and I thanked it for a second chance to accept its beautiful gift.

This particular magnolia usually blooms in late winter–a much needed burst of color after the long, gray winter.

The tree is known by many names–Japanese Magnolia, Saucer Magnolia, Tulip Trees (which is what I first called them).

After I posted a photo on Instagram, a friend told me she had never seen the Japanese magnolia before, so I’m sharing a couple of links with a bit more information about the tree.

Spring’s explosion is short-lived, so be sure to take some time to notice the flowering trees. I’ll be back with more tree blossoms for our next #ThursdayTreeLove–if I can wait that long. 😉


I am joining Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.

Blossoms Today…Gone Tomorrow

Winter seemed endless, but spring is leaving (read: has left) all too quickly.  We still have about 2.5 weeks until the “official” beginning of summer, but we’ve been feeling 90 (or near 90) degree temperatures here in Northern Alabama for a few weeks now.  We won’t even mention the humidity!

Spring is far too short for a person like me.  I do not like long, cold winters, and the only thing I like about long, hot summers is remaining indoors with the air conditioning.

Nearly two months ago, I celebrated the mild temperatures of spring with a photo walk around campus.  I referred to this walk near the end of a previous post–it began with failed tulip photos (probably because I wasn’t willing to get down and dirty–literally). Even though the tulips disappointed me, I’m pleased with the pretty blossoms I captured.

Cherry Blossom by Me, April 2014

“Cherry Blossom: Oakwood in the Spring”, April 2014

I’m so happy I decided to take a walk that particular day because a few days later, when I took a walk to the campus market, the blossoms were G-O-N-E!

The dogwood “blossoms” were on their way out too.  I altered the photo (below) with a grunge overlay because I’m using it as part of a gift. Shhhh…don’t tell.

Dogwood by Me, April 2014

“Dogwood,” April 2014

A week or so after I photographed the dogwood I received this beautiful photo postcard from Rebecca, my swap-bot pal and colleague in academia.

“Dogwood in Arkansas” by Rebecca R., Spring 2014

Rebecca captured her photo in early April, probably around the same time I shot mine!  How cool is that!  Like me, Rebecca carries her camera (almost) everywhere.  I’ll have to share some of her other beauties in a post soon–maybe, my next post.

Here are two more photos from my early April photo walk:

Pretty in Pink, April 2014

“Pretty in Pink,” April 2014

I have no idea what this tree is called–and frankly, I’m too lazy at the moment to find out.  It rests near “my building” and goes through a number of beautiful transitions throughout the year.

Pretty in Pink (even closer), April 2014

“Pretty in Pink II,” April 2014

Finally, here’s a pear blossom tree I shot on a March afternoon while running errands:

Pear Blossom, March 2014

“Pear Blossom,” March 2014

I am so grateful for earth’s casting off the dull, hard covering of late winter and showing off the revival of her beauty.  I will be enjoying this display all summer long.  Through photographs.  Indoors. In my air conditioned home.