I live in an area of the country where Magnolia grandiflora thrives. These glossy-leaved evergreen trees are native to the southeastern states, though they are such striking ornamentals that they are now found everywhere (including Southern California). Though I don’t happen to have one in my own yard, there are a dozen handsome specimens within the near neighborhood. Their bowl-sized white flowers, with a delectable scent of citrus and vanilla, have inspired me for a long time, and for more than a year I’ve been working on a studio series of large magnolia blossom “portraits.” Since I’ve observed the trees through the seasons for years (decades, actually), I thought I knew all there was to know, so how is it that I never noticed the stunning autumn seedpods? As I ducked around a trash can on my walk back from my yoga studio, this one practically struck me in the forehead. It’s not quite a flash of insight, but it does remind me how often I walk inside my head instead of on the sidewalk. The pods are usually found high up in the branches, so I might easily miss them, but I’m grateful for the reminder to keep my eyes open and look up. Now I will do some research to see if I can get the seeds to germinate next spring. I wouldn’t mind having a magnolia outside my window so I don’t miss a thing.