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The Magnolias (standard:non fiction, 1898 words)
Author: DbAdded: Jun 23 2004Views/Reads: 3150/2164Story 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 

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. 

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