Have you ever sat under a magnolia tree?
There are several types of magnolia tree, but the ones I grew up around--the Southern Magnolia--are all thick in the trunk, with dark green, glossy leaves, and the most fragrant flower, some pink, some white. So massive can these beauties grow, one can sit under them as a child and pretend she is inside a great cathedral, or inside her own home. Or, if caught in a summer shower, one can rest under the tree and stay relatively dry.
The flower, which can grow to the size of a child's head, are not only marvelous for their fragrant offering to the outdoors, they bring the same to the inside of a house. I've clipped many a magnolia flower and allowed them to rest inside a bowl of water. A perfect centerpiece or decorative idea.
Magnolias are so prevalent in the South, streets are named after them. Festivals. Stores. Plantations.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting Charleston, South Carolina. I was a guest in the home of a childhood friend who lived in nearby (and equally beautiful and historic) Summersville, but made the short trip into the old Southern city several times in just a few days. One route--Ashley River Road/Hwy 61--afforded me with a remarkable view, not to mention a glimpse back to the past.
I was with fellow author Tim Owens at the time. Tim, who takes this trip most weekdays, said, "I love this route. This is my time with God. To think. To be quiet. Some people want to four-lane this road. I can only hope it doesn't happen."
But back to Magnolia Plantation. If you are ever in the Charleston area, I would like to recommend taking a few hours away from the old city to this grand remembrance of the Old South. I was only fortunate enough to drive past it several times and, quite honestly, this writer's mind went creative-crazy.
If, for whatever reason, you cannot make it to Charleston, enjoy the virtual tour here: http://www.magnoliaplantation.com/
(Photos from http://www.magnoliaplantation.com/)