Magnolia Blooms

I grew up with a magnolia tree outside my front yard. Since I went away to college 25 years ago, the tree has grown to incredible proportion. However, its size is smaller than otherwise would be, due to weather and neighbors who begrudged the petals that fell onto their manicured lawn.

When I moved back home in September, one of my greatest anticipations was to experience the full blooming of the magnolia tree once again. With the warm weather this past week, the blooms began to open and then suddenly popped. I hung out a window and stalked the tree taking photos ahead of today’s coming day-long deluge.

These magnolia blooms are right outside my bedroom window:


Closeup of nearby magnolia blooms:


Skyward magnolia blooms:


Into the center of the tree:


Magnolia blooms above the front door:


I only wish I could send you the scent of magnolia along with these photos. Have a great day!


Spring Flower & Garden Show!

This morning, I drove my mother and I to Hicks Nurseries on Jericho Turnpike in Westbury, NY to see their spring flower and garden show. The show is ongoing through the 23rd of March. In addition to flowers, gardening classes for adults and children are being held daily.

Walking through the front door felt like magic. So many colors! Plants! Foliage! If you were in a bad mood when you walked in the door, stepping through brought a sudden lift of spirits. The cold, punishing winter in New York this year is made harder by the leafless, dormant trees and plants.

In a back room, the scent of hyacinths hit you as you walked through the sliding glass doors.

Line of Hyacinths

To the left were tables filled with primroses.

2014-03-18 10.46.05

Also to the left, daffodils and tulips stretch far into the room.

Daffodils + Tulips

These are a small sample of the many flowers there – colorful cacti, orchids from white to pink to orange brown and combinations of colors, and others whose names I do not know.

Passing the time in rooms thronging with floral pleasure was a much needed physical, mental, and spiritual boost. We walked out of there with a small mixed hybrid ranuncula plot and a 2′ camillia April Kiss plant. Hail to the coming spring and summer!

Morning Writing Brain Tangents

Three pages of daily morning writing is not difficult to fill. If I am not thinking of anything in particular, I start with where I am, what I am doing, talking out my schedule, or about my kitties who are trying to get my attention.

I went through two and a half pages of this type of writing when a series of things I have scheduled for tonight flashed through my mind, followed by a flash of my father and one word: Gagutz. Gagutz (ga-goots) are squash. The actual word for Italian squash is cucuzza, but my parent’s regional Italian accent turns the hard ‘c’ sound into a soft ‘g’ sound and drops the final ‘a’.

When my parents used the word gagutz, they were really talking about the squash flowers. A regional Italian dish of my father’s is deep fried gagutz (squash flowers), which my mother made. The squash flowers were obtained from our backyard garden that my mother grew each year. Fried gagutz was one of my father’s favorite dishes.

How my mind went from thinking about what I’m doing tonight to thinking of my Dad and one of his favorite food dishes is a mental mystery. I must have been thinking about my father subconsciously when I paused to consider what I wanted to write next. I would never have predicted that.

The chasm between the conscious and subconscious parts of the brain fascinates me. Supposedly, our brains process thoughts of which we are not aware when are sleeping and when we are thinking about something else. My conscious mind had its rapid-fire dump of tonight’s tasks when my subconscious pushed my father and gagutz loudly to the surface. This mental tangent illustrates an unexpected benefit to writing daily: I am able to better understand one way that writers get their ideas.

The next type of writing I want to add to my morning writing is a 15-minute slot for timed creative writing. In past creative courses, the goal of the timed writing exercises was to include as many sense-bound details as possible. These exercises helped flex my creative writing muscle, and I wrote richer, more interesting stories.

Step by step, I am learning to create a writing routine that will help me turn 2014 into my  year of writing and writing better. I feel good about the process of making one small change, letting myself see how it feels, and then seeing how well (or not) that it is contributing to my writing goals. In all that I have done, this is the only trick I have ever learned that has helped me not get overwhelmed and move forward. 

Poem: I Am Spring

I am Spring

You brought me here
Under the pretext of rains
To nourish and protect my growth
Instead I died dry
In your desert of guidance

Now I am my own Spring again
My Equinox lifts me
From your everlasting winter’s rein

My flattened words grow greener
With their sunny meals
I cultivate myself with passion
I rain down on my fields
And drink in refreshment
As I run

Water soaks my ruched white summer dress
Laughter gallops forth from my lips
Sparrows sing as I swirl
Mini daffodils crown me
Lavender explodes under my feet

I stop to pick a daisy
And run my fingers along the prickly stem
I inhale their yellow scent
With my eyes closed I imagine

Running with you through my fields
Holding hands
Loving each other
Just as we are

© 2014 by Wendy Mastandrea