I’m well aware of what a hardy winter means, after all, I did go to college in Maine. But, I feel almost reasonable when I say that I was grumpy for those 3 recent weeks of “cold” because one of my favorite Southern Californian amenities is its warmth.
Everyone says, “Angelinos forget how to drive when it rains.” Partly, yes, but we can’t ignore the facts that no one here has all-weather tires, our streets weren’t built to drain adequately, and oily deposits always surface because the rainfall is so infrequent. Likewise, we’re equally susceptible to the cold because our buildings aren’t properly insulated, we don’t have closets stuffed with long underwear, and most importantly, the cold hurts the heart as though the skies have broken their promise.
All of this is to say, I love spring. What more could you ask of a tree than for it to bring the promise of spring in the early month of February with its tiny white flowers? For this reason, I feel quite fond of the Ornamental Pear Tree and I am willing to overlook the fact that it is highly invasive across the United States.
“And it is in the humble opinion of this narrator that strange things happen all the time. And so it goes, and so it goes. And the book says, ‘We may be through with the past, but the past ain’t through with us,’” we are told in Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1999 epic love story to the San Fernando Valley, Magnolia.
While the Southern Magnolia is native to the American South, it not only lines the streets of the San Fernando Valley, but the entire Los Angeles basin. The flower was used as an emblem of the Confederate army, but unlike the assumption made by Anderson’s narrator, we’ve let go of its past. And thankfully so because these giant white flowers can make even the sleepiest of men smile. They’re so grand, in fact, they have earned it the Latin name, Magnolia Grandiflora.