little miss hyacinth
hmm. when last we left little miss hyacinth she was asleep at the back of the fridge, tucked back by the leftover spaghetti and the butter-under-cow.
she had, just before last dispatch (“honey, what’s that growing in the fridge?” 12.14.06), been rescued from the deep recesses of the laundry room. where she had unwittingly, and against her deepest desires, been wrongly abandoned. there on a shelf with the holiday wrappings and curlicue ribbons.
what did i know about hyacinths? i was, still am, a hyacinth virgin. when the little cheat sheet that i carried home with her told me to leave said bulb in a cool, dark place, i thought the back of the storage room was as good as it gets.
i was wrong.
so i righted my ways—once shown the light by my bulb lady friend.
i fetched poor miss hyacinth, hoisted her up from the cellar and into the back of the fridge. where she sat, nestled alongside her leftover neighbors, sinking her tush in a bath of cold water, soaking up all that she needed, all that she wanted, so she could let rip a tangle of white waxy roots.
i don’t know about you, but if i sat in cold water for a month and a day i might go on some sort of a strike. a protest, you know. a no-growth, no-how, sort of horticultural tirade.
hmm. seems that she might have.
friends, little miss hyacinth has been out of the fridge for a full 11 days now, and barely a peep has she made. her green leaves, they are tight. her buds-in-the-making, they are pursed and determined. she seems, by all measures, hellbent on not moving.
remember how our bulb lady friend likened the big red amaryllis to that teenage boy who had no desire to move ’til he was good and well ready (“red triumphant” 1.18.07)?
well, meet little miss prissy hyacinthy who seems to be the bulb equivalent of the teenage girl who has locked herself in the bathroom for hours on end, swiping mascara, dabbing gloss here and there, sweeping cobalt-blue blush all over her most striking cheekbones.
we have been banging on that bathroom door for days now. but she won’t answer. won’t come out. won’t even humor us with a note slipped under the transom.
by even the worst prognostications, she was, by now, supposed to be strutting her stuff, perfuming the daylights out of the kitchen. but nooooooo. here we are bounding toward february and she is in there doing god-only-knows-what with her girlie-girl bag of botanical tricks.
so we just thought we’d let you in on the big bulby letdown. and tell you that little miss hyacinth seems to have turned into some sort of behind-closed-doors balled-up prima donna.
we’ve little to do here but leave her there on the sill. we shove her toward sunlight. we whisper sweet nothings. it’s useless, it seems.
so we slump by the door and we wait and we wait. she’ll be out as soon as she runs out of mascara.
p.s. and meanwhile, ol’ stud boy amaryllis, mr. red buds on long tall stout stalk, is putting the rest of the winter garden to shame. he’s up to six, count ‘em six, trumpets on high. the boy, finally roused, is running and running the bases. long past home, he’s back over to second. (if you can do such a thing in baseball…) maybe he’s showing off so little miss hyacinth will come out of her shell.
Love yer photography. Stunning! God gave you eyes to see, and ears to hear, and a big, tender heart to discern, so you can pour out stories your whole life to bless this hurtin’ world.
“thelonius comes through…” bec says, as we talk about your photography…”the crispness of the edge” i say, but bec points out “the crispness is the camera, barbara’s gift is the compositions which are STUNNING!!” and then we see thelonious has gone before us. and we are not surprised that the photography is drawing rave reviews. so lets hear a round of applause from those assembled at the table, those having pulled up a chair, how about the photography here?kudos!!!!!!!!!
i recall years ago, at the time when i became an indoor winter gardener, late 1980s, finding a bulb store in evanston, on church street, across from the new building…i forget the name of the building, twas an insurance underwriter’s firm as name tenant, but the architect was helmut jahn. the uberkind in those days. he’d finished the State of Illinois building, not yet commissioned for the United Terminal. this was evanston before the great change; a big commission for the town then. the bulb store was the provenance of an old woman, blazingly knowledgable about bulbs of all types, whose knowledge was displayed in her hands, the fingers, the knuckles. something about touch, though i am not sure what i mean. but i think you know, if you do. i discovered there the red lion amarylis and many other bulbs, and when they bloomed they were beautiful and my girlfriend of the time said i should not be surprised for “anything tended with such love would certainly be beautiful.” it was consumingly beautiful but i had never gazed into the trumpet center of a bulb’s bloom, never tended from the cold dormant into the triumph of color. anyway, at the shop i recall a fireman coming in who purchased his quota for the season. he knew well the merchant of the shop, and they chatted and i learned something in that exchange including that the shop was soon to be closing, forever. i purchased the bulbs and felt the loss going forward. evanston was changing, rehab reached church street west of the “L” tracks. i shall forevermore find bulbs aplenty, but it is that shop owner whom i recall whose tactile sense of promise lay within the bulb. i didn’t then have a basement in which to weather the bulbs for the next year’s rebloom, and still i live in an apartment and don’t really have the adequate space to over season, but that woman’s zest was so great it lives with me still, and i realize with time that she was only a messenger – not to belittle her grace – but to point to something deeper, the autochthony of the bulb, which once planted responds to soil, light, temperature and then SINGS to us. it knows no other. can be no else. the bulb is simplicity, herself.when keats wrote “truth is beauty, beauty is truth” what did he gaze upon? i can only imagine, for i have found mine.
The photography is visually stunning … it deserves screen space with the gorgeous words contained here.
bulbs… yes, i remember the climate when i could do that.and i remember their reluctances, and their moods.they sleep. then they creep. but rest assured: then they leap.miss h. is merely perfecting her costume.she’ll let you know when she’s ready.