|The Magnolias (standard:non fiction, 1898 words)|
|Author: Db||Added: Jun 23 2004||Views/Reads: 1556/991||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|My favorite season will always be the springtime, and this story, which tells of an early morning walk through the garden with my grandmother as well as an encounter with the magnolia tree, explains why.|
Some people say that only children can fully appreciate the seasons of the year because only they retain that magical connection to the other side that allows them to bask in the gloriousness of it all. In the summer, they play until the sun finally sets late in the evening; in the fall, they frolic through the piles of leaves, and in the winter they take advantage of the abundant snowfall. But spring is a season that I'm claiming as my own because I don't think that children can fully appreciate the subtle beauty of the world unfolding around them. I know this because, when I was a child, I don't recall ever thinking twice about what I perceived as the worst time of the entire year. The black flies, and later mosquitoes, were thick, it frequently rained, the ground was muddy and often impassable and the opportunities for play were few and far between. To a child, this is death; the ultimate in boredom. To me, it was the same. The springtime was usually spent inside, whiling away my time at some tedious task or game, waiting for the summer to finally roll around and dry the boredom away. While I wasted my time under a dry roof, I would often watch my grandmother through my bedroom window. She used to rise at 6 a.m. to get a head start out in the garden, often to avoid the plagues of flies that abounded in the marshy area around our home. I never understood why she did what she did; what satisfaction she got from hilling those damn vines; what pleasure she derived from sowing those microscopic seeds. Even when they grew, she never stopped to appreciate them; she was always more worried about which tree needed to be pruned rather than which flower had finally blossomed. And I simply didn't care. Her gardens were something to avoid, in part because of pure boredom with the plant kingdom, but mostly because of the possibility of accidentally stepping on some “precious” flower that she had painstakingly tried to grow and the punishment that would ensue. I was 14 when my grandfather passed away. It didn't fully hit me at the time, and maybe it hasn't hit me up until this very day. I think my grandmother saw it as a relief because he had suffered for more than a decade. She cared for him and tended to his wounds as his health slowly deteriorated to the point where he was barely able to walk. One August morning he had a stroke and was in a coma for a week before he finally let go. I'm not sure if it hit my grandmother at the time; she had to be a rock for all of her grieving children. She pushed her pain away in order to consol her shaken family and in the process denied herself the grieving process. It was at that time that she became even more obsessed with her garden, spending almost every waking moment amongst the flowers in order to come as close as she could to achieving botanical perfection. She never got there, but I think that was what she needed at the time- something to continue working at in order to keep her mind off the pain. She continued to get up a 6 a.m., have a cup of tea, then venture out for another morning of battling the mosquitoes. I still wasn't interested in the garden. I could care less which annuals were in bloom, nor which tree was baring what fruit. “Ah, look at that, you're finally coming out,” she said one morning to a bunch of purple blossoms growing below my bedroom window. Awaking me from my sleep, I was not happy. Looking at the clock, I realized that it was only 8 a.m., and I was not scheduled to rise for another 4 hours. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and tried to once again enter the dream world. “But you, damn you, you've got nothing on you. If you don't start growing, I'm going to rip you out.” She always loved talking to her plants, praising them if they were growing well, threatening to rip them out if they were laggard. I had always seen her doing this, but chalked it up to a crazy old woman with nothing better to do. But this time, for some reason, I wanted to know which plant she was threatening. It really didn't matter to me, but on that particular morning something inside of me wanted to know. I got up out of bed, slipped on my shoes and headed out. There she was standing, right below by bedroom window, harassing a twig that was sticking in the ground. Click here to read the rest of this story (124 more lines)
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