Since the beginning of January, when I planted last year's Amaryllis bulbs and a set of Paper White bulbs we received as a Christmas gift, the table in front of the downstairs window has been gradually filling up with plants: geranium cuttings destined for outdoor pots when spring finally arrives, cuttings from house plants long overdue for repotting, a pot of grass as a decoy to save the other plants from night-time predations by our cat, and a dish of succulents, another Christmas gift.
Yes, that is the Christmas tree in the background. I usually take it down in January, but the poor thing had started pollenating and I felt bad about throwing it out in the snow, so it stayed up well into February, till the steady rain of needles was really too much to ignore.
One day in February, after walking the dog and getting the mail at the end of our lane, I dropped my box of seeds and pile of magazines on this table. When I came back from putting my coat and boots away, to open my box from Vesey's, I laughed.
At first I thought "synchronicity". But no, according to the Canadian Oxford dictionary that means "the simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible connection".
These small events were definitely connected. Linked by the angle of the sun in the sky and by the human need, especially near the end of a long, cold and very snowy winter, to surround oneself with green living things. Looks like apartment dwellers in New York deal with long dreary winters in much the same way I do and probably the artist who drew the February 4 New Yorker cover. Seed companies understand this as they send out their catalogues in the darkest days of winter. And even the folks at Canadian Tire get it and put out boxes of amaryllis bulbs at Christmas time.
One of my favourite poems is about the blooming of that improbable house plant.
The self-brewing of the amaryllis rising before me...
So opens Jorie Graham's poem "Opulence" about the slow, magical blooming of a red amaryllis.
-impregnable dribble -- wingbeat at a speed
too slow to see -- stepping out of the casing outstretched,
Graham captures perfectly the power, the utter self-reflexiveness, of a growing plant. And the suspense of watching and waiting for those moments just before the bloom bursts out.
the force, the phantom, now sending armloads up
into the exclamation,
and the skin marbles, and then, when I look again,
has already begun to speckle, then blush, then a solid un-
And, finally, the mystery we all wait to see enacted each spring...
yes yes yes yes says the mechanism of the underneath tick tock --
and no footprints to or from the place --
no footprints to or from --
I'm Elizabeth Pszczolko, a writer living in the woods outside Thunder Bay, Ontario. As a child, I used to keep scrapbooks of nature stuff - drawings, musings, poems. This is my grown up (I use the term loosely) version of those long lost works. For more on what inspires this blog, please see the About page.