A magnolia pod can be looked at just a flower. Or you could look at it as metaphor or a treasure. Barbara Stanifer, chooses to look at it as the latter. As in all her stories, Barbara looks at little things in life, values them and delves into the deeper aspect that usually get ignored. The ladies at Chatoveracuppa fell in love with this story, perhaps because we could relate to it in our own way. Hope you find a relation too. 

I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of Ralphs, I couldn’t tear myself away from the tail end of an interview on npr.  Looking down and listening intently, my magnolia pod caught my eye.  It’s been nestled in my console for about a month now.  I love magnolias they have a nostalgic tie to the tree that brought me shade and beauty and daydreaming every summer in my Grandma’s backyard.  They are stunning you can’t pass one by without noticing, elegant and graceful, yet strong and enduring.  Their petals seem to be made of industrial fibers, sprouting out from a nutty, meaty center.  They call to you like arms of a prima ballerina gently whispering for you to come closer and you imagine that if they ever got a hold of you they’d capture you in an embrace that felt like a cocoon of quiet and grace, you’d float weightless, secure and understood.  These elements encompass how I’d like to be viewed as a woman. 
And then the flower gives way to the pod, which is equally beautiful in the way each season after spring has it’s own beauty.  More interesting…  It’s just a woody thing with a tuft of yellowy fuzz, spirals of brown that look like martian antennae and a “trunk” that looks like it came from the closet of a cougar – all leopard print.  I love this pod for all these things it represents, for who gifted it to me and maybe for the metaphor about aging I’ve attached to it. 

I am no longer in the spring of my life; I’m no longer a dewy shiny thing in body or mind.  But maybe there’s still something interesting about me, something still worth displaying or keeping as a traveling companion in the warm console of a car.  Dust me off every now and then and let me remind you of our history, of your history.  Appreciate the strength of my being that let me survive each transition and make it this far.  Use me to sow the beginnings of another generation of thought or love or action.  Collect me and consider me a treasure.  

This is how this little magnolia pod came to live in my car, as I was leaving my sister’s house, my three year old nephew called out “Barb, do you want a treasure?”  Nothing could have filled me with more joy!  A gift from this little human I love so much and a gift that I so genuinely enjoy at that.  That kid is something, I’m sure I am projecting – but he is truly in tune with people’s inner workings even at three.  I swear the look in his eye as he handed it to me was that he understood all that I did about the specialness of magnolia pods.

Story and Photo Credit : Barbara Stanifer.