This somewhat blurred photo of a gem magnolia flower opening up is – I believe – worth sharing, because it’s very special, even if the phone camera couldn’t manage the morning light well enough to do it justice. It’s special for me and also special as a symbol of how precious it is for us as we move into old age, to still find that we have the time for a leisurely pace towards simple happy endings.

In the case of this magnolia flower, it is here because way back in the days that we lived in Brisbane we had a massive magnolia tree towards the back of the house. And in season it had the most lush creamy white magnolia blooms. So I really wanted the smaller version on our balcony when we moved to a Sydney apartment 12 years ago.

Unfortunately, the variety that we bought back in the early days of establishing our potted garden turned out to be totally different, and just had some very uninspiring little flowers. So, for years I yearned fitfully for the right breed: gem magnolias. Until, a couple of years ago, when one of my daughters wanted to get me a birthday present, and what I asked for was one of those trees, even though expert opinions were casting doubt as to whether it would survive our tricky sea salty balconic air.

Happily, it did, but in Year One it only managed one blossom. This year, however, right now there are six buds going sequentially into bloom, and it is such a delight that I thought it was well worth showing one off.

Twelve years ago, I was 62 years old. Now, at 74, I find myself still in good health, being able to reflect back on our lives here as one full of riches, including ups, and downs, and ups again, and – most precious of all – six beautifully healthy grandchildren, and with the delightful bonus of being here long enough and sound enough to be able to enjoy yet another gift from the time I’m being given.

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