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  • Every year I catch my breath beneath a magnolia tree.

    Its thin branches look like arms holding floral goblets up to drink the sunshine. Winter in Australia is over and the springtime sun is warm. Almost as warm as the summer to come.

    Last year's warm season was washed out by the misbehaving little girl, La Niña. With hope I watch magnolias blooming – this year will be better.

    Magnolias symbolise perseverance: survive winter and they will reward you. I see many trees in bloom as I cycle the backstreets of Sydney. Mostly white, pink and lilac-coloured. One day I saw a tree bearing wine-red flowers and I exhaled: 'red...' as I coasted on my bicycle.

    On this blue day I got off my bike and leaned it against a brick wall while I stood, gazing in awe. If you stand directly under a tree looking up, the tree becomes your world.

    These large, decadent flowers are already falling apart, petals peeling, but they retain their dignity.

    The pigeons flying past are another reminder that we live for one moment, one flower on the branch, one wingbeat in the sky. One lovely summer, with luck.
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