Tuesday, March 9

what your looking for

That magnolia tree was constantly constant in that front yard. Regardless of the type of grass -- St. Augustine, that is -- it stood there as I grew up, growing as I did, with its white flowers blooming against the humidity. It seemed that regardless of how many times my father assaulted its branches with the power nozzle on the hose, ever relentless in his attempts to fleece it of its leaves, magnolias still bloomed, and leaves still fell in spite.

I love that tree...

...for its majesty, for its comfort, for its steadfastness, for its roots that run deep, for its consistency, for its silence. No matter how loudly my parents fought and yelled ugly things at each other, when I laid under that tree watching the blue, blue, blue sky through the boat-like leaves, I could hear my own heart beating in its silence. I could hardly even hear the door slam when I was under the tree, feeling its roots anchoring my back to the ground so I wouldn't float away. Anchored. It's what I craved most. Even while never moving an inch, I felt so adrift at times. Until the magnolia tree's roots lifted up and pulled me in as its own. Its strength became my own; its roots became mine.

I love that tree...

...for its safety, that tree. At times, in the riotous chaos of my mind, when I had to leave home, I could still enter the shade of that tree, still smell the magnolias, still feel their soft petals and the rough bark of the trunk. The roots, the anchor, I needed was still mine. Regardless of the chaos, or the turmoil, or the newly made -- and forgotten -- memories, the constancy I needed was always in that front yard, surely planted in that St. Augustine grass, shivering in the rain and thundering in California earthquakes. That tree is my epicenter, my sunrise, my tide.

I love that tree...

...for its certainty, for its memory. With the destruction of that tree, its roots were pulled up, the boat-like leaves were set out to sea, the magnolias didn't bloom. And me? I was lost. For a time. For a time I was lost with the loss of that tree. Its roots were my roots.


what else can be said when there is such a loss? That magnolia tree absorbed many of my losses and rejoiced in many of my triumphs, and perhaps that is why its roots were so gnarled and its flowers bloomed so brightly against the sun. How cliche would it be to say, Oh but the memory I have forever, how lucky I am! No. I will not diminish my tree in such a way. No. Some roots run too deep for such things.

I loved that tree.

written anonymously

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