Big day for me


Anyone who knows that last Sunday was the 38th Vogalonga (I was there, rowing on the six-oar balotina, as last year) might be surprised to hear that that event is not filed under “Big day” in Erla’s Cosmic File Cabinet.

My big day was day before yesterday, hereinafter referred to as the Apparition of the First Magnolia Blossom.

This is not a trick: There is a single white blossom in there -- admittedly easier to see in real life than here. Check the upper right quarter of the central tree. Trust me.

My mother had the habit (obsession) of remaining on the lookout for little signals throughout the year — animal, vegetable, mineral, comestible, aural, but especially vegetable.  The way she watched for them made them seem important. And evidently a random twist of the old DNA has passed this persistent little practice on to me.  The first seppia.  The first frog-song. It’s such a part of how I see the world that I find it odd that everybody doesn’t do it.

I used to watch for the very first leaves coming out on the small weeping willow on the canal near our first dwelling.  First leaves are celestial, filmy, diaphanous. Complete, full-grown, ready-to-use, batteries-included leaves are not. And don’t tell me that the anticipation was more meaningful/pleasurable/important than detecting the nascent foliage itself.  You might convince me that the voyage matters more than the destination, but anticipation with no fulfillment is dumb.

So I have been keeping the huge magnolia tree near the Giardini vaporetto stop under close surveillance. Tell me why the first blossom could possibly matter.  No wait — don’t tell me.  It matters.

Now I have seen it and I feel happy.  I’m not sure what I’m going to be tracking next, but there will definitely be something. Followed by something else. Until December 31, and then I start over.

That famous Next Big Thing everybody's waiting for? I'm waiting for the Next Little Thing.

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Categories : Nature


  1. Amy Kritz says:

    Anticipation without fulfillment is just frustrating! What a lovely tree, it reminds me of a very old apple tree I used to know, who one year only produced a single fruit, dangling like a Christmas ornament among the leaves.

    • Erla Zwingle says:

      Your apple tree certainly beats my magnolia — sounds like a poem waiting to be written.