Friday, April 5, 2013

Mom's Magnolia Tree

Springtime in Lewiston is always beautiful.  Lewiston is usually one of the first towns in the area where the daffodils begin blooming.  The cherry trees have already bloomed and the magnolia are in full bloom right now.  The beautiful pinks and soft whites always remind me of my mother.

Mom loved spring.  In early January and February – she would spend her time looking through seed catalogs and planning her spring planting.  During one spring when I was very young, Mom bought a magnolia tree.  She planted in the back northwest corner of the house.  Mom babied that tree, trying to coax some buds out of it.  Nothing happened that first year.  The forsythia glowed with yellow blooms, the snowball tree was dripping with its white balls…but her magnolia tree didn’t have one bud. 
The next year, Mom was thrilled to see her magnolia tree awash with buds.  However, buds were not what I saw…I saw fuzzy shapes that looked my favorite pussy willows.  So, I cut every bud off and took them down to the neighbor.  This neighbor was like my second mother…and my mother’s best friend.  She shared my Mom’s anxiety about that magnolia tree…so when I presented her with a bouquet of what I thought were pussy willows, she was horrified.  “Oh, Carmen….she exclaimed…where did you get those?”  I didn’t really need to tell her where…she knew. 

Mom's magnolia tree after it was replanted - around 1975.
It wasn’t until the next year till Mom finally saw her magnolia tree blossom.  However, she wasn’t happy with the tree’s growth – so Mom decided to move her tree.  She moved it to the middle of the yard, close to her growing rose garden, where it has flourished.  It is a funny tree – it blooms full blast in the spring and then it blossoms on off during the summer months.  Back then, we had a huge garden space, two large cherry trees and apricot and peach trees.  Now…they are all gone, except the magnolia tree.  However, we do have two other magnolia trees planted in the yard. 
Mom died the day after Christmas in 2005.  That first spring – Mom’s magnolia tree got frosted early and never bloomed in the spring.  I thought it might be in mourning.  When Mom was alive and healthy – the yard was a showplace.  I can remember having a family gathering many years ago and everything was blooming profusely.  Only glimmers of that yard still remain.  Mom’s roses still bloom through the summer, the dogwood trees bloom each spring and even the wisteria eventually greens up and the fragrant blossoms perfume the yard in the early summer. 

Our local parks department has a path/park that they are developing.  As a fund raiser, people could buy trees and have a memorial plaque placed at the tree, honoring their lost loved one.  Dad bought one of these threes, and when they asked what type of tree we wanted – we asked for a magnolia.  So, there a magnolia tree growing down at the park and it is the second year that it has bloomed.  There is even a magnolia tree blooming near her grave at the cemetery. 

Mom’s magnolia tree has bloomed beautifully this year and just like every year – there always seems to be a storm that scatter the blossoms from the tree and it is happening outside right now.  I took a picture yesterday afternoon of Mom’s magnolia tree.  I can’t help thinking of my mother – every spring when it blooms and remember how much my mother enjoyed growing things.