Friday, May 30, 2014

Gem Magnolia Tree: Life and Death and Dreams

Life and death and dreams live here... on this tiny, glossy-leafed 
Gem Magnolia tree.

                                Touched Magnolia

                              by Wynne Huddleston

I am a magnolia, reflecting the proud, the strong,
          the lovely South, all the way down to my Southern Belle
          roots, planted firmly in Baptist grit and Mississippi 
          mud. In the spring I cover myself
          in buds that bloom into creamy white 
          flowers between leaves, glossy green 
          on top; velvety underneath. Wanted for my beauty, 
          many attempt to touch me, and when they do,
          they bruise my delicate petals
          for I have no defense
          but to curl up, turn brown and ugly, 
          then wither away.

Sometimes you have to make your own miracle. 

Today is my birthday, but I woke up crying because I lost 2 sweet friends yesterday. Timmy died in a wreck a mile from my house. He was in my class, from 2nd to 11th grade. I even called him my boyfriend in 4th grade. I'd lost contact with him since school days (decades ago) until I saw him at visitation for Bruce, my former brother-in-law, who had suddenly died. Bruce was also in our class (our school was small, one homeroom per grade). Timmy and his wife had recently moved back here. He and Bruce were only 55 when they passed away. Neil is my sister's brother in law who was a grade ahead of me. He was special. He lived with his brother, who watched out for him. He had an innocent, giving nature. Neil died in his sleep, not a bad way to go, but he was too young, only 56. So here I was crying. Then I thought, isn't it selfish to cry? Am I crying for me? They are free spirits now. Wanting to keep them on earth is selfish. So, I got up and made coffee, and thought, the best thing to do in their memory is to LIVE.

I opened the curtains on my French doors, to let in the sun, and saw my baby bluebirds flying from the junior sized oak tree I'd planted after Katrina (along with 2 different lightning strikes over the years) took my only big old oak. But I digress… 
These little bluebirds had left the nest their mom had built in my yellow bird house. 

My birthday magnolia!
I walked into the front yard and saw that finally, after all these years of wanting, here was the most lovely magnolia, my favorite flower, for my birthday. The bloom was fully open. (Sometimes you have to make your own miracle; last year I bought myself a Gem magnolia and planted it.)

Here is an old, brown bloom that will soon fall off the stem; and here are many more buds ready to open. Unseen, are many more flowers that only exist in dreams and imaginings for now, 

The bloom I cut is on the right.
and here is the young bloom I cut to put in a vase yesterday. The one on the tree is much more beautiful.

Life and death and dreams live on this one tiny, glossy-leafed Gem Magnolia tree. Enjoy today, the present, the now—it's all we truly have. Don't live in past regret, don't put off to the future, hoping to do that thing you want to do "one day." 

Buddhists wisely advise, Be mindful. Live in the present. 

The Bible says, Be still, and know I am God. 

About Me

My photo
Wynne Huddleston is a poet, musician and teacher. Her first book of poetry, From the Depths of Red Bluff, ISBN: 978-0-9840483-2-8, published by the Mississippi Poetry Society, Inc., is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Ms. Huddleston is the Mississippi Poetry Society 2014 Poet of the Year. Her poetry has been published in numerous publications including the Birmingham Arts Journal, Camroc Press Review, Stymie Magazine, Danse Macabre, Orange Room Review, New Fairy Tales Anthology, Ink, Sweat & Tears, and Four and Twenty. Her poem, Same Stars, Different Houses received a Pushcart Nomination from Deep South Magazine. Awards include the 2013 MPS Award, and Winner of the Grandmother Earth National Contest 2010 for Environmental Poetry. Ms. Huddleston was born in Lone Star, Texas, but has lived in Mississippi most of her life. She has been an elementary music teacher for 25 years, and has 2 grown sons, and 2 grandchildren.