It was given to me for Christmas – an ugly, brown orb that fit in my hand. Peeling wisps of skin, it showed little promise: a bulb that hid its green seed inside a living sediment.
Initially it was balanced over a skein of water in a glass jar. For weeks it was kept stifled in my closet – waiting for the wandering roots to appear in the dark, birthing room. Like plaits they curled into the water, nourishing a filigree of thirst.
After a month in the coaxing dark, it was brought out into the sun. Bathed in the warm slipstream of early spring it released green shoots that reached into the soft, pillow-like air. These first leaves were a succulent green, a healthy bloom of color full of youth and potential.
The leaves grew higher and higher, until they seemed to lose interest: they faded and collapsed. Perhaps this was a signal of distress…an indication that the earth was calling, that the dark and rustling soil was ready.
And so the ugly bulb was placed in Nature’s pure and patient hands. She would listen to its heart, to the flower curled inside it like a foetus. It was placed into the dirt, where it slept for two years.
It was when winter was still strong, but at the same time when spring’s gentle notes began to filter through the air. A distant song that had just begun to confront the chill, it beckoned to the dormant life, alerting it to a seasonal transition.
And it reached back into the memory of the sleeping DNA – the leaves grew again, but with additional offerings: blossoms, as thick and white as milk, as cold and smooth as silk. Amaryllis’ slumbering shepherdess awoke inside of three pale, flowering bowers which opened in a yearning leap towards the faint warmth circling above them.
Hopefully they will continue to covet spring’s mildness, and hopefully they will survive summer’s harshness. When autumn arrives, its soft grove will begin to recede, before returning to hibernate inside of winter’s bleak sod. Patient and perennial, it will wait in the dark, a botanical shadow, until the seasons knit into its lifeline, and pull it above the surface and into the living atmosphere once again.