At first the sky lightens outside, and I can see a sunny day is ahead. I lie in bed watching the air brighten behind the still dark leaves of the sweetbay magnolia.
Then, all at once, a few leaves on one branch turn gold. They are not the topmost leaves. These few leaves part way down are gilded, lit from below.
Then, happy with the result, the sun drips golden light all down the single branch it has chosen.
Finally, after about 15 minutes, the entire top of the magnolia is bright, creating a stained glass window in the sunshine, and I know it is time to get up.
I enjoy the sweet bay magnolia outside the window in all seasons, but this only happens in November. The sun is at just the right angle to pour liquid gold down the branches at the exact time that I wake up.
This year the sweetbay magnolia has some nice fall color, which adds to the bright golden stained glass effect in morning. Magnolia virginiana doesn't always color, but this autumn the leaves are a rich butterscotch, brown and gold, with a few green leaves for contrast.
|Magnolia virginiana in 2009|
|Five years later, in 2013|
It flowers in early summer with creamy buds that open clear white. The leaves stay on through winter, usually green, but this year I am hoping the rich mix of butterscotch persists.
The flowers are supposed to have a lemony scent when they open in June, but to my disappointment, my tree does not. That's okay. It makes up for it in November. As the darkest time of year approaches, this pretty tree opens the day dripping in gold sunshine.