Esperanza & A Magnolia grandifloraTuesday, December 15, 2015
|Magnolia at the National Gallery, Washington, DC|
Knowing more than one language has its advantages. Knowing several versions of those languages has its advantages, too. In my case when I speak English I can choose from my Anglo/Argentine heritage where to go to the camp means to go to the country. Then through my Filipino heritage I can accept the plural of furniture and say, “I have many furnitures.” Or in my Texan English I can pronounce a writing pen, a frying pan, a straight pin all in the same way while stating that I am going to the theatre (rhymes with matter).
In Spanish I have to think if I am talking to Argentine cousins, Mexican friends or Spanish relatives. In Cuba if you ask for papaya for breakfast you will either get snickers or shocking silence. The word for a pack (of cigarettes in Mexico) is an unmentionable in my Argentina.
But the best part, and sometime troubling one about this several language and dialect thing is that in these later years of my life I explore the meanings of words, their origin and how a word in one language can have a different root.
Faith, hope and charity translate into fe, esperanza y caridad. It is that middle word, beautiful if you pronounce it right, that has a meaning that enlarges on the idea of hope in English. To wait in Spanish is esperar with its root from Latin sperāre. So the idea of hope in Spanish has that lovely connection to waiting.
Some years ago when I was the photo editor for a book about
Vancouver that was being put together in Memphis I was dealing with an art
director who was a devout Protestant. He insisted I go to church with him one
Sunday. On the way to the service I spotted a Magnolia grandiflora (commonly called a Southern Magnolia). It was
in bloom. I asked my church-going companion to stop. I got out and lowered a
branch to smell the very large and thick-petalled flower. After a prolonged
sniff I told him, I am off to have a coffee. I have already been to church.
In my three trips to Washington DC I have always made it a point to seek out the very large Magnolia grandiflora on the front of the Capitol. Some say that it was already large when Lincoln was inaugurated.
The magnolia was one of the first of the flowering trees and it grew at a time when very large plant eating dinosaurs would nibble on them.
I presently have about 85 roses in my garden. Some are deliciously fragrant and complex at the same time. But I must admit that they all pale when compared to the Magnolia grandiflora.
Some 15 years ago I purchased a smaller growing magnolia called ‘Little Gem’. I planted it and we have waited in vain for it to bloom. This tree needs lots of hot sun so when I placed it near a very large pine on my neighbour’s side I must have doomed it.
|Daniel Carrea & King Noupa|
Two weeks ago I began to dig a trench around it and then I watered it lots to moisten the soil, which was very dry being under the canopy of the pine. I attempted to move the trunk this way and that way. After a few days there was some give. So just a few days ago, on Monday two burly guys, King Noupa (from Cameroon) and Daniel Carrera (from Monterey, Mexico) dug the magnolia out and put it into their truck. Both Carrera and Noupa work for Climbing Vine Gardens, We had hired the company to remove most of the shrubs and tree from the deck garden of our new house so we can install our own. My Rosemary came up with the splendid idea of perhaps taking the magnolia.
Carrera drove slowly so as not to damage and branches. Once we got the garden they dug a hole. Then both Carrera and Noupa took turns in holding the tree and twirling it around until we decided what was the right side. Into the hole they put in three bags of Sea Soil that Rosemary buys at the Shop-in-the-Garden the UBC Botanical Garden plus a bucket of our very own and very rich soil from our garden. We watered it well.
We made the comment that the magnolia appears to always been where it is.
And I live in the esperanza that this summer it will bloom, at last!