The Earth in spring is filled with ephemeral beauty. If only there was a way for us to shore up these stores of promise and beauty to dip into on long, drab days when hope isn’t shining out of every pore, life would be set.
Last week-end, one of my best friends whisked us from our homes to a place where Earth, as Ralph Emerson Waldo, so clairvoyantly says, laughs in flowers. I had seen pictures of tulips from Netherlands, and from Oregon and Washington states as well. It is hard to miss these photographs on social media. But it has helped build the yearning to visit these flower fields in the peak of spring. Who says dreams do not come true? They do, and often, in ways you do not expect, adding a delicious twist of serendipity to the experience. For this time, it came in the form of a girls’ trip to one of my best friends’ home. The exemplary hostess that she is, we came back feeling like queens, glowing in the warmth of laughter and love she enveloped us in, and smiling secret smiles filled with tulips, daffodils, fields, lakes, clouds and the sound of the twinkling camaraderie between friends.
Walking in and out of these flower fields, I stopped to see the different ways in which we sought to preserve these memories for ourselves. The photographs were fast and furious. Some folks, like ourselves, tried silly photographs, and some others were trying their best to obscure the pictures and their angles so as remove the other people around them. I quite understood the yearning, but also felt a bit cheated (though I was guilty of the same thing). You see? I had expected to see endless fields of tulips stretching far into the horizon as far as the eye could see. What I saw instead was a finite field of flowers. They were brilliant, but not endless. The angle of photography can be misleading indeed.
The ones most appreciative among us were a couple of dogs that stopped to sniff the blossoms reminding me of the dog in Mary Oliver’s poem that loved to sniff flowers.
“I had a dog
who loved flowers.…
not in the serious
that we choose
this blossom or that blossom
the way we praise or don’t praise –
the way we love
or don’t love –
but the way
we long to be –
in the heaven of earth –
that wild, that loving.”
― Mary Oliver
Maybe the dog caught a whiff for their sense of smell is far sharper than ours, but we shall never know what the dog smelled. I shall however remember the satisfied contented look in its eyes. There was another child who sniffed at the tulips and looked up questioningly. I understood the confusion in the child’s face for it mirrored mine from a few moments ago: the tulips weren’t fragrant exactly – they simply had no smell.
As I stood there surrounded by tulips first and then daffodils in another farm, I thought longingly of the patch in my front garden. For two years now, I have been trying to get it to bloom. But like a trichologist (Trichology is the scientific study of hair) battling a particularly persistent bald man’s patch, it has so far resisted. A shining bald patch in the middle of the yard, simply refusing to burst forth and shine in the spring time. How these horticulturists managed to get this many plants to bloom altogether, and not one of them a dud, is beyond me. #EarthMagicians.
In any case, I thought to myself as I sniffed a flower, I take inspiration from the dogs in spring time bounding about with energy and a bubbling happiness trying to capture infinity in flowers. An anthophile’s (lover of flowers) angst is easily remedied in the ephemeral beauty of every blossom. No rose stops to think of its purpose in life does it?
“Wild roses,” I said to them one morning.“Do you have the answers? And if you do,would you tell me?”The roses laughed softly. “Forgive us,”they said. “But as you can see, we arejust now entirely busy being roses.”– Mary Oliver , Roses