I picked up a box of tulip bulbs during the Christmas holidays.
I brought the box home and set it on a counter in the kitchen.
I didn’t much like the color of the buds or the anemic foliage.
While I wasn’t paying attention, they began to open rapidly.
I could hardly believe it.
I never had tulips so I didn’t realize that they open and close depending on the amount of light.
Within a very short time, they opened so far
I thought they would wilt within the hour.
I was astounded.
In order to keep them from melting,
I moved them to the cold porch
where they closed for the night.
They continued to open each morning and close each evening
for several weeks.
I began to enjoy the ritual opening and closing.
Mr. Anole found his way onto the porch and
hung out near the box of blossoms
until I captured him in a towel and put him outside on the lilies.
Mr. Anole gets into lots of trouble around here.
After several weeks of vigorous display, the blossoms slowly began to fade.
They were unable to close completely in the waning afternoon light,
but they tried very hard to keep up the “ballet”
as I came to view their movements.
The dance of death began.
At that point, I knew that a normal person would have discarded them.
But, there was just something lovely about their final stage.
As the pedals shriveled and lost their strength,
They took on a deeper, more jewel-like tone.
It was as if the color concentrated as the petals shriveled.
Their dying took on a metaphorical significance.
I began to watch them closely each day and to photograph their demise.
This one only had strength sufficient to raise one petal.
It reminded me of the high-back “fireplace” chairs of the 1800’s.
One graceful arm curved
as she relaxed her body, folded her petals, and sank into the final bow.
Ah, but I will remember her lovely dance.
A Swan Song to rival the the grace and power of Anna Pavlova, herself.
A box of tulips at Walgreens?