An abstract evocation of warmth, from my hand/heart to yours:
This curled leaf from a Magnolia tree was a meal for a happy beetle or caterpillar, leaving its structure – the veins – for us to admire and ponder. Curled up inside a red lacquered cabinet, it caught stray glimmers of morning sunlight in January.
I found the leaf on the ground at the University of Washington Arboretum in Seattle. Their website says, “Magnolias have a long history. Fossil remains indicate that magnolias are among the most ancient angiosperms (flowering plants) and have changed very little in 100 million years.”
“Magnolias are named in honor of botanist Pierre Magnol, director of the Montpellier Botanic Gardens, the oldest university garden in France. Magnol’s major contribution to horticulture was developing the concept of plant families.”
Strangely enough, I found this leaf (and hundreds more like it) under a Magnolia tree in full bloom in mid April. Lush, graceful flowers adorned the tree above my head but the ground below was blanketed with last year’s leaves, slowly returning to the earth while mingling with freshly fallen petals.
Here are photographs of several magnolias in the UW collection, and fallen petals underneath last year’s skeletonized leaf.
I’ve strayed from the original idea of a simple abstract image for Valentine’s Day, but isn’t Valentine’s Day a bit of a conundrum? A day to celebrate warm feelings of love occurs in a season of cold. So here I’ve set out a few images to reinforce the warmth without forgetting the rest of the story.
From The Daily Post today comes a wonderful potpourri of hearts and the like: