A thing of beauty

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness...
~ John Keats

The magnolia next door spent most of winter covered in tiny, tight buds. Well-furled flowers began emerging from their husks in mid-February, weeks earlier than they should have; then, as if the tree had suddenly noticed the wintry chill still in the air, they remained well-furled... until a couple of days ago, when they gradually, tentatively began to open. 

They are the foreground to anything I can see from my window, and are even more exquisite when viewed from the road. Today I noticed various passers-by pausing to take photos; saw a young woman posing under the loveliness while a young man captured her image. I too was out, or at my window at various times, taking photos as the sun turned petals into translucence, gilding upper branches thrust triumphantly towards the sky. 

A sister who lives further up the road walked by, quoting Keats - A thing of beauty is a joy forever. 

Oh yes, I replied, but this beauty will only last a week or so.

Ah but then, she reminded me, we still have the memory...

We do indeed. As darkness and instability descend, and desperation, pain and death fill our news and our conversations, spring is also filling our days. In the midst of war and ugliness the burgeoning magnolia is a thing of beauty, bursting with new life and hope and loveliness.. and we can pause, and savour, and create our glorious, joyous memories, which will never pass into nothingness...

A thing of beauty is a joy forever; even when it only flowers for a week or so; especially when it flowers at a difficult, fearful time...


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