April’s winter burn, a combination of blowing winds, freezing temperatures, and low soil moisture, wrecked havoc upon the southern magnolia tree that was planted recently in my backyard. Its lustrous leaves mottled, turned brown, then dropped off, one by one, skirting the base of the tree with what resembled piles of furry pelts.

The arborist from Droege Tree Care in St. Louis, Missouri, advised me not to lose heart and to continue the weekly waterings with the soaker hose. I did just that while loving its spindly branches and noting still more speckled leaves barely attached to the limbs. Other well-established magnolia trees in the neighborhood were already leafing out.

It seems to me that hardships, any time of the year, not properly handled, can also cause winter burn; it crimps psyches: embittering the taste for life, withering the resolve to endure, shrinking the desire to speak, and jettisoning social contacts. The resulting soul-sickness reduces the afflicted to a mealy regurgitation of the predictable—the entrapment by Dark Forces that want them dead.

Salvaging such conditions requires the spiritual infusion of warmth, calm, nourishment, and light. I know. I’ve been there.

Such is happening to my southern magnolia tree; its lime-green leafing now glistens in the morning sun. God willing, it will thrust its branches into the sky, become a haven for winged creatures and a joy to passersby.

 

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