Our magnolia bloomed. The one that last year was barely bigger than a stick. Today it’s filled with beautiful blossoms, fragrant pink with white around the edges.
Last year it had three flowers, maybe four. (It’s all a blur.) The year before it was just a cluster of twigs tilted slightly to one side.
We bought it from a nearby garden center. It came with a giant root ball of dirt wrapped in burlap, the bottom dwarfing the top by a hefty margin. It took four of us to lift it, plus a front loader. “Smooth like butter,” said the man in the front loader. “Peanut butter,” quipped the woman actually lifting the tree.
I was nervous as we it drove home. It took four to get it in the truck but there were only two to get it out. We backed up to where we wanted it to go, then did a lot of standing, a bit of stressing, a smattering of hands-on-hip-ing.
When we finally got it out of the truck and into the ground, I was struck by how much faster the planting was than the pondering.
It’s funny, when I look back on it now I barely remember lifting that tree. I just know that we did. When the work was done, when all we were left with was a bouquet of blossoms, the work was easily forgotten.
I’ve been thinking about this lately as a three-year project draws to a close. A project, it suddenly dawned on me, I started the same time we planted that tree.
I was struck by the intensity of the process, the endless learning curves. It was smooth like butter. Peanut. Extra crunchy. But then, suddenly it was done. So much more quickly than it started.
And now that I’ve done the heavy lifting, the stressing, the hands-on-hip-ing, I’ve put it out into the world. Soon I won’t even remember how difficult it all was. It will all be a blur, except in passing.
Except, in passing
perhaps all I will sense
is the sweet scent of success.