Record snowfalls. That’s what a lot of areas of our country have been experiencing. Inches and inches. As someone who doesn’t like to be cold, my heart goes out to them.
I live in the South. Two weekends ago, when our weather people were predicting a wintry mix, we got what I like to call a glimpse of snow. The temperatures were very cold for us—in the teens and low 20s with the wind chill.
On the morning of our wintry mixlet, I bundled up and went outside to take pictures of the light dusting of snow with crunchy ice on top. The wind was so cold it practically blew me back inside the house, where I warmed up and then went out again for more photos. Afterward, a mug of hot chocolate chai commemorated my foray onto our frozen tundra.
This week, in contrast, we’ve had unseasonably high temperatures. It’s like nature is having a grand mood swing. Yesterday afternoon was sunny and beautiful, so I went for a walk in our neighborhood along my favorite route—the one I love in the summer, with the gentle shady slope that emerges into full-on, squinty sunlight.
Along the way, I came across our neighbors’ camellias. Oh! A dozen tall camellia trees—japonicas—are absolutely covered, top to bottom, with deep pink blossoms. Typically, they bloom later in the winter, but the warmer weather may have confused them.
Even though we have camellias in abundance here, I’m always surprised to see their buds opening up in cold weather. They look too fragile to bloom in the winter, but they can take it. They’re not only beautiful; they’re also tough. I love that about them.
Whenever I see camellias, I think of one of my favorite professors. I’d just graduated from college and was working in the university’s Department of English. One cold, gray day, Dr. Snow (yes, that’s really her name!), brought in armfuls of camellia blossoms from her garden and graciously put them on each administrative assistant’s desk.
The deep pink blooms were stunning against the brown desktops, beige walls, and tan carpet. I can still see them. They added beauty and color and life like nothing else could.
When she realized I’d never seen camellias before (or at least never noticed them), Dr. Snow told me all about them and then continued to bring them whenever they bloomed.
On those drab winter days, her gift seemed to hasten spring’s arrival for me. She freely shared a bit of beauty with all of us in that office that has stuck with me ever since.
Have you ever been given a gift of beauty? What is your favorite gift to share with someone else? Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook.
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