Magnolia watch

It's been a dull, chilly day, with the lurking threat of imminent rain. Intermittent bursts of sunshine disappear behind grey clouds and we're all back in jackets and jumpers. Dispiriting, especially after the springtime promise contained in this week's sunshine and warmth. And yet... if I sit back and tilt my head, from my window I can see a mini riot of pale, rose-tinged blossoms, nodding vigorously in the wind, soaring and reaching as far up as they can. When I go into our prayer room I am greeted by multitudes of those same blossoms filling the entire window, beckoning my admiring gaze, seemingly clamouring to be let in.

Readers of this month's blogposts will know I'm referring to our magnolia tree, whose progress I have been closely following. In a more normal spring the tree would have flowered three or four weeks ago and it would now be ragged and well past its glory, above a decaying carpet of brown petals. Instead, a month ago I was scanning it anxiously, noting tiny buds, tightly furled in self-protection, showing no sign of any desire to open even just a peep, and it has only just started to shed its first petals. So it's current gloriousness is all the more appreciated!

A friend recently said how much she has enjoyed following the magnolia's progress; so the pictures here are especially for her, but also for anyone who longs for signs of sunshine on a grey day...