The bulb can be a homely thing. Graceless and lazy, it hibernates in the warm earth for an amount of time that is as unwieldly as its body. It waits for the tickle of spring, for its delicate awakening, before it decides to rouse itself. Then, in its airless cocoon, the petals unfold in thick pages, their margins tinted with yellow, pink and purple. After years spent curled and hidden, tulip, iris, daffodil, hyacinth, crocus and anemone stretch and yawn beginning their slow ascent through the dirt and towards the pastel-colored air.
Its growth is slow and indolent. It turns into a rich and unsubtle flower which begins to blossom below the ground before raising itself through the froth of fresh and nascent soil. It is the product of a season of growth and gentle progression. Nothing happens overnight: instead, we are given the opportunity to witness the myriad phases of Nature’s tender evolution.
Later in the year, however, there is another type of bulb. This bud looks down on the earth, blooming overnight from the branches of trees, appearing fully formed like roaring Athena bursting from the forehead of Zeus. Thin-skinned and metallic, its quickening isn’t gradual or patient: it bursts out of the tree’s holiday skin, scintillating in the winter air.
These bulbs mock the dullness of their earthly brethren. Their colors and textures yearn for the cold season when snow and stars glisten like frozen tears. They give no warning – they seem to flourish overnight, beckoned by the moon’s harvest encouragement. Then in the morning they cling to branches like ornamental fruit, an edible parure of luscious gems.
They last for only a few weeks – and then just as suddenly disappear. Evaporating into the pale air, or dissolving into the tree’s dormant flesh – the holiday shards floating through its dense veins. It would take months before the trees revive, when their next crop of blooms will be verdant and lush: a pretty generation. The winter bulbs will return in a year, when the chill curls like a shiny filigree in the air and winter beckons with promises of tinsel and silver. It will whisper promises of shining with equal fervor both by day and by night. They will shiver with frost, with the delicate sparkle of nacreous ice. And when they are delighting in the holiday’s brittle alchemy, they will then be able to celebrate the year’s greatest season once more.