However much I think I am moving into some other field of inspiration the world of plants and flowers yanks me back with some exquisite piece of perfection from nature. Today we had one of the first sunny and warm days of spring and my star magnolia bush is blooming - eight glorious confections of waxy white petals around a cone of pale green gold stamens.
I realise that thousands of people live in places where magnolias thrive and grow into huge trees and are covered in blooms. They are not my magnolia. My magnolia is fifteen years old and has attained the great height of five feet. For its first five years it actually got smaller every year due to breakage from snow. Then I had the bright idea of fertilizing it in the spring and summer and it actually grew big enough that it didn't collapse under the four feet of snow on top of it.
At the age of twelve my magnolia decided to bloom for the first time - you can imagine the excitement over the single flower. The following year it came up with three blooms. Last year I inwardly screamed as a landscaper we had contracted to lay a stone patio dropped a wheelbarrow load of stone right on the bush!
So now, with its eight flowers and its sturdy five foot limbs I think I can relax and enjoy it. As I walk by its intense fragrance wafts around and draws me to study the flowers again and to check what little visitors are feasting on the nectar. I would love to use the feeling I get from admiring the blooms and put it into my work. When something in nature is this perfect any artificial form of it, however abstract seems redundant.