On the way home from the pool today, Helen picked a gigantic magnolia blossom off one of the neighbor’s trees, and it’s on my desk right now. The smell is so powerful it keeps distracting me.

I love Magnolias. Yes, they’re messy. But they’re SO beautiful when they’re in bloom, and those trees are so strong! Jerry and Russ backed over one in our side yard the day we moved into our house on Ward, and it survived. It just has a scar there now.

And Magnolia blossoms are a lesson in irony: the blossoms have such a delicate fragrance, but it can have incredible power at the same time. And they bruise so easily. I remember pinching the petals as a child and watching them turn brown almost instantly in the shape of my finger.

Strong trees, delicate flowers. It’s no wonder they’re so often used as a metaphor for Southern women. We can withstand being run over by a truck, but we bruise easily, too.

We don’t have a Magnolia in our yard anymore. There are two BIG ones next door. I’m kind of glad they’re over there — I can see them and smell them, but I don’t have to deal with the leaves in the yard all the time.