We lost a couple of old trees in our yard a few years back, big ornamental pears brought down not by lightning or wind but by their own structural weakness. These trees have a Y structure where two central branches push against one another, and over time the trees undermined themselves, eventually splitting apart. We mourned those trees and wondered what to replace them with. But within a few months, the little magnolia that had seemed so small beneath one of them shot up. It’s filled out that space magnificently now. Where the other tree once stood, we can grow flowers in places we couldn’t before. Sometimes when you lose something you think you need, life surprises you. What comes next turns out to be unexpectedly ...

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