The magnolias started flowering in mid-January. And I got sad. And then I started making calculations, and wishing. Wishing for things to slow down. Wishing for time to stop – for the trees to stay in their pink and white spangled glory. Wishing for the flowers not to fade, for the green leaves that follow the flowers to wait a little longer. You see, my mom is coming to visit in about ten days. And last year, around Valentine’s Day, our star magnolia tree in the yard was full of fragrant, saucer-sized blooms that looked like this:
And the city was awash with pink. And I wanted my mom to get to see that this year. But everything is too early – it’s going to be over by then.
So, a couple of weeks ago, when I drove past a tree in crazy full-pink bloom, I would argue with Mother Nature in my head. I thought things like, “Can’t this just wait a little longer?” or my favorite – a simple, “Nooooo!”
Not a great way to enjoy one of the most spectacular annual natural treats in the city.
Then I realized what I was doing. I was refusing to enjoy something beautiful because I wanted it to happen at a different time. I was seriously arguing with reality. No matter how hard I wished or what kinds of imagining I did, the trees were not going to suddenly go back in time to fuzzy buds. They weren’t going to wait. And I could be present and enjoy it, or miss it completely.
How many times do we do this? We do it with the weather — it’s raining right now as I write this — will it still be raining for the big parade tonight? Who knows, but I don’t think I can mind control it to stop! We do it with people we know and love. How many times do we find ourselves trying to change someone else with our thoughts- convincing ourselves that everything would be fine and we could enjoy ourselves if they would just act differently, for heaven’s sake!
The truth is, the only thing we really have the power to change is our own viewpoint. Our own lens. Life gets a whole lot lighter when we aren’t trying to get other people to be different or make the weather the way we want. It gets lighter when we stay in our own business – taking care of what we really can do something about.
So the past few days, I’ve been admiring the trees. Smelling the blooms. Enjoying the fallen petals. Remembering that this blooming doesn’t last, and reminding myself to enjoy this beautiful, rainy, flowering, present moment.
When my mom gets here there will be plenty of lovely, special, and perhaps even surprising things to enjoy, even if they aren’t pink magnolia blooms.