Eight years ago a dear friend who lives on the nearby Isle of Palms, dug a volunteer Magnolia seedling from her yard and transported to my garden. It was basically a stick with two leaves, but I figured what did I have to lose? If it did not survive, I would not feel the guilt that would come from buying a pricy Magnolia seedling from a nursery. If it did survive I would have a visible reminder of our friendship, making it much more than a specimen in my landscape. I carefully selected a spot in my then barren landscape and watered it religiously. the first two years I could actually step over it when I mowed. Now eight years later it is reaching for the sky and has more leaves than I care to take the time to count. I looked forward to this Spring, surely my patience for the sweet creamy saucers that are Magnolia blossoms would be rewarded. Alas I must report I have been disappointed as new leaf after new leaf have unfurled yet no buds or blossoms in sight. There have been a few deer bites on lower branches but I am fairly certain it was only tender leaves that became a treat for my doe-eyed friends. I consulted my gardening bible: Southern Living’s : The Southern Living Garden Book (excellent resource for any who garden anywhere in the American South). I was a bit disheartened to learn that it could take as long as fifteen years until the blooms begin.
Well . . . could be seven more years to wait. I realized this tree is a great metaphor for my writing career. Although I have been a lifelong writer, it has only been a short time that I have been pursuing writing professionally. I am unknown in the publishing world, in a sense you can easily step over my writing. It will be a few more years before my leaves, my pages, are more than anyone would care to count (except possibly an editor). The reality is it may be quite a few years before I am in full bloom. But just like my stick of a tree, with the right nurturing, I will eventually get there. Conventional wisdom tells us the best and most meaningful things in life are worth the wait. Every time I step out my back door or glance out a back window my stoic Magnolia will be a gentle reminder that beautiful things will come my way in their own time. Patience will be my virtuous companion as time progresses on, but I will admit, an earlier bloom for the tree and me would be more than welcome!