Nights in the village are cold; morning skies are gray and overcast. The forecast here is for rain, days of rain. The word for this week ought to be "puddle".
Not a leaf to be seen on her fretwork of arching branches, magnolia ignores the gloom and unfurls a cloud of tulip-shaped blooms. She gifts her subtle colors and delicate fragrance to commuters running for buses, to children in rainbow boots and slickers wending their way to school and postmen stuffing mailboxes, to rumbling trucks sweeping village streets clean of dust, to one old hen and her canine companion out for an early walk.
By the end of today, the tulip tree will probably be bare, her petals liberated by the fey north wind and floating down to carpet the garden like confetti. This morning, she is a candle, a veritable tree full of candles lighting the murky day.