The magnolia flower

June is the blossoming month of magnolias and I keep a close eye on the tree in the garden in order not to let an easy-to-reach flower slip by me. Of course of the ones that open in the high branches, I just have to appreciate their pure colour, that unique hue of creamy white, and their still more elegant shape made up of fleshy petals that only lasts for a few days.

As I stepped into my flat today I was swept by a waft of delicious smell from a single magnolia flower I had placed earlier in a vase on the coffee-table. It was still a closed bud when I snapped it from the branch, an odourless bunch of whiteness, later to develop into a marvellous creature redolent of the sweetest of smells. I don’t usually like cut flowers, but I make an exception for magnolias because of their incredible odour that fills my house with the fragrance of a secret garden of paradise.

I leaned over the flower before going to bed and breathed in its perfume. It was now opened in its full maturity, the petals maybe bearing nearly imperceptible streaks of decay, the sad destiny also of the most beautiful things on earth. When I was little I was always surprised at finding metallic-green rosechafers in these flowers, outright numbed by the strong smell that had probably lured them into the closed gates of a delightful prison, to serve the interests of pollination. Much as these insects, I was about to lose my senses and be carried away by the flow of sensations.