When I was growing up we had a magnolia tree. Every winter Mum would show me the tiny little blossoms that formed tightly on the ends of the twigs. And every spring she’d photograph the thing in its full blaze of snowy-frosted magenta. It’s a memory we continue to share, occasionally.
A couple of years ago I was reading to my daughter. It was one of those first chapter books, about a young aspiring ballet dancer. There was a passage in it where her mum took her to sit under a magnolia tree. I coughed, and kept reading.
Usually, before school, this tree is crawling with tiny, blossoming people, wrinkling through its branches. But today, this. Immediately, my mind goes back to the tree at our old house, both now long gone. And the throwaway kids’ novel. And, strangely, a quote from ‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint Exupery: ‘the land of tears is such a secret place.’