After returning from Texas I took a short trip to South Carolina, finding spring had arrived there before me. I was thrilled to find this tree in full bloom, its sweet fragrance filling the air. It took me back to my childhood, and a magnificent saucer magnolia planted in our yard.
My mom especially loved the tree, admiring it every year with cautious optimism. For the week it bloomed we followed the weather like farmers, searching for signs of an untimely cold snap. Too often a fickle New York spring would end its bloom with a late frost, the blossoms turning a wilted brown overnight. But in cooperative years nothing could beat that tree, a mist of white mingling with shades of purple and pink against the suburban sky.
I shot this tree at the South Carolina Botanical Garden with a wide-angle lens, to emphasize the amazing number of blooms stretching 30 feet up in the air. Just before leaving, a sudden storm dropped the temperature and I was drenched with a brief but fierce rain mixed with a few snow flurries. As I drove away I hoped it would stay warm enough for these flowers to continue their magnificent bloom. I was glad to be able to enjoy these ephemeral flowers, my first taste of spring this year.