Now that the buds are starting to bloom and flourish, everyday I greet the magnolia tree that stands behind my building as I make my way in and out the back door.
I approach slowly and stand under its branches, silent. I am awed by its strength and fragility, humbled by its presence and beauty.
I get close to eye the flowers and say to them in my heart, "You've arrived! And look how nicely you've grown! We worried you might not make it this year, but you've come in your own time."
To the fully-bloomed flowers with their white petals and green and pink centers, I say, "You are so beautiful. Thank you for showing up and letting us see you."
To the flowers that are just peeking and pushing through their buds, I say, "You are on your way. I wonder what wonders you're holding inside. When you open, may the world open with you."
And to the buds that are still green, I say, "Not yet? That's okay. Take your time and come out when you're ready, because we want to admire your fullness!"
These magnolias smell like warmth and sweet and softness. They make me smile. I stand under this magnolia tree and I think, what a beautiful thing that God has made. How can something be so beautiful just by being there?
I greet the tree. I greet its buds and flowers. I show gratitude to an inanimate, yet no less living, thing. Because it is living and thriving on its own, and I'm able to witness the process.