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A late frost

We have these gorgeous magnolia trees in our front yard. Stunning. When they bloom, they literally stop traffic. When they bloom.

They have no business being in our front yard. We’re zone 6, they are best in zones 7-9, and there’s a reason for that: the tree is very easily tricked into thinking spring is here, and it is very susceptible to a light frost. The buds pop out at the first sign of warmth, and they are tender and foolish. “This year’s the year,” they think (in my imagination). “We’re doing it! Right on track!”

We’ve been in this house six years, and twice, everything has worked out. Breathtaking beauty. When the flowers fall, it looks like it has snowed, a white and pink carpet that is so pretty I can’t even complain about the mess.

Four years, it has not. The buds start, a hint of pink can be seen, a frost comes, and whatever the opposite of breathtaking beauty is what we get. Everything is brown and mushy, the trees are covered in rotting death that eventually falls to the ground, a sloppy ugly horrible mess.

The picture above is from this morning. I saw the buds and my heart sank. It’s supposed to get down to 25 tonight, another false start.

I’m filing our taxes later today, putting thousands of dollars onto a no-interest credit card, and my husband and I are in a jaw-aching, not-speaking-to-each-other fight about bathroom fixtures and buying the thing that will make us the happiest vs. saving the most money.

The frost is coming tonight. Tomorrow morning, we take stock of what we have, assess the damage, clean up the mess, move forward. Maybe this year isn’t the year.

Our finances are like those beautiful, tender buds. This year was going to be the year. Improvements. Debt repayment. On the right track. The kind of growth that might not stop traffic but would make me feel like I could breathe.

The buds die, it feels like the end of the world.

The trees live, produce flowers next year, keep growing. This year isn’t the year, but the foundation is unshaken.

Damn, when it works out, it’s going to be stunning.

3 thoughts on “A late frost”

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