blue patches worth the wait
i am drawn to them the way i stumble to the bathroom sink in deep of night. when my throat is parched, and i am not awake so much, except to feel like i am choking on the dryness. and then the waters come, cool ones, wet ones. and the choking goes away. and back i stumble, into sleep. my throat no longer aching to be soothed.
it’s what it feels like, especially at the close of this long winter, when the patches start to sprout. first, like measles made of blue, the spots come here and there. scattered. hardly connected. a little bit of cobalt. another little bit.
but then, suddenly, it’s spreading. whole pools and puddles, patches. old yards, right now, show their age. in the best way i can imagine. they spread out in blue. as if whole blankets from the attic have been taken down the winding stairs, shaken out of all their accumulated winter’s dust and left to air, where thirsty ones like me can drink them in.
it is the single thing of spring, the scilla, or Siberian squill, that sends me soonest to the moon, has me down and on my belly, taking in the endless waves of nodding heads of blue.
they come, the scilla does, where earth is undisturbed. it is, like gray locks on a wise old lady’s head, a crown of age.
oh, you might tuck a bulb or two into the ground. and, should the squirrels not binge, you might find just one or two breaking through the crust, come spring.
but if it’s a swath of blue you’re after–a river, really, blue on blue on blue, paying no mind to where one yard ends and another starts, barely yielding to the street, popping up again just beyond the curb–then you will have to wait. ten, twenty, fifty years, when, squill by squill, they multiply, take up every inch of old and tired real estate.
i’ve nearly crashed the car in this accidental season. can’t keep my eyes on this here road. i’m always scanning for the scilla pools.
and when i come upon them, it’s not enough to merely notice, and keep along my way. why, no, i’ve been known to pull a U-ey, screech the brakes, drop to hands and knees. it’s why, i think, God gave me a belly, the perfect launching pad for taking in the earth at eyeball level.
you might have seen me, sprawled. you might have thought, oh, that lady’s had a stroke. or perhaps she’s lost a ring, and is making like a snake, turning over leaves in hopes of finding gold.
gold, shmold. i am seeking blue. inhaling it. licking it. basically, consuming it through every pore. getting my annual allotment, and then some. i fill my belly now, or else, i wait.
through may and june, when there are, praise be, distractions to occupy my eyes and nose. through july and august, when all i do is sweat. through the whole of fall, when i make do with swirling leaves and pumpkins, too. to december when the tree lights twinkle, and somehow seem to mesmerize me. back to january. february. on to march, the slow road to mental decline if there ever was one. by early april, without a bit of blue, i am nearly sunk. so blue inside i might as well give up. call 9-1-1, come get me.
but then, as if my inner blue is on the loose, the spots appear before my eyes. at first, i think i’m seeing things. could this be a blue mirage? is someone playing cobalt tricks?
and that, my friends, is why you find me, at the height of april, flattened. on the ground, stretched out. rolling in the scilla. seeing if, perhaps, i can stain my skin the blue i thirst for. so the wait won’t be so anguished.
it is a silly thing, how sometimes these meanders go where i’d not one bit intended. i had set out in one direction, but my fingers on the keys took me elsewhere. oh, well, that’s how it is in spring, this season that we wait and wait for. i’ll be back, i guess, to lolligag my way along some other route some coming day. because it seems the squill took over here. do you have something in the spring that makes you go a little gaga? do you have squill where you live? or what is it that lures you over the fine edge?
I too am rolling in the rivers of blue! My old yard is covered with scilla and bees!
I don’t think it’s scill-y at all, meandering in your writing the way you would on a walk without a destination. Daily meanderings, after all. Today, after all the gloom and rain, I just love the sun. And the way the wind is gentle, not bitter. I love the color the lake has become and have remembered that it’s here for us to enjoy: I walked an hour today and included the 105 steps it takes to get down to the lake from the park in the center of my town, and then back up. People have come out, too, in the warmth, and everyone has a story to tell, especially if you walk with a dog who breaks the ice as much as the sun does. They stop first to greet the dog. My yard is still brown with only hints of green. No blue at all yet. But that blue does it to me the way you describe it does to you. I look forward to the charge I get when it comes.
lately all i see is green – a lush, verdant explosion of green. the grass if fresh and the trees’ tight buds have finally unfurled into new leaves. i love the newness of these leaves, so soft and fuzzy and pale green… they haven’t yet matured into those hardy dark green leaves that survive the summer heat. and the sun, although almost always present here in good old nc, is shining ten times as brightly i think… it makes the grass fairly shine.the problem with all this is that now i only want to loaf about in the sun, drinking in the slow passing of an afternoon with nothing to do. instead i am afflicted with the sudden load of homework that precedes finals.ahhhh, well. such is life. i am still grateful for the sun and the leaves.
Saw my first little patch of blue as we were walking home from gramma’s house the other day. A hopeful sign that I took as a blessing.
loved the photo of the blue blanket from the attic……..beautiful………i’m not familiar with Siberian Squill…… although the leaves look familiar?? Certainly nothing like the ‘blanket’ in your photo….. Back in NJ the first sign of spring rebirth for me, if my memory serves, was the crocus that would pop up right in the middle of my ‘still winter’ lawn………..currently, I’m a northeast girl in a southwest town, living in a ‘not new’ but ‘new to me’ home… hence, i can’t identify most of what blooms down low to the ground and have yet to install my own brand of ‘garden’ here……….. right now we have some green grasses poking up, there are some not orange, not red, but somewhere in between flowery things and a few of the ‘planted long ago?’ irises trying to bloom……..there are new leaves blossoming on most of the shrubs and deciduous trees, (our raywood ash looks wonderful) and, drumroll please, MAPLE leaves finally showing, hooray!! (maples are my favorite!)…….. we do have forsythia here in AZ (another favorite) which has put on a beautiful show…. sadly they are not in our yard …yet………. i’m so glad you northern mid-westerners are being blessed by the arrival of spring after such a delay…….. Go ahead and make your U-eys, slam on your brakes, flop on your bellies (get a photo of that please!) and inhale all that blue!! just leave some for the next U-turn maker!! lolp.s. ….. thank you for the beautiful photo…… my opinion is that the southwest simply CANNOT compare to the rampant color and profusion of beautiful flora that graces other parts of this amazing country………
you with your squill and me and my mushrooms, yep- they make me crazy eyed. i’m so glad to find you delirious like me…springing on top of spring before it’s truly sprung, your eyes on the prize of blues, on your belly to boot. ha. “pulling a u-ey” is so funny, and similar to my kids statement of shock-“watch out, mom’s bustin’ a u-ey!”thanks for the springtime squeal, er…squill. take care
i have one squill in my yard, and no- you can not come over and roll on it, it is the only one i have. I named it barbara.
bam, your voice is clear and true. It’s your thang! I love “I am seeking blue. inhaling it. licking it. basically, consuming it through every pore.” Out here, in the land of rock and sky, where, as vam writes, we lack the “profusion of beautiful flora” there are spring colors a poppin’ nonetheless. My “bay-bah” is the Indian paint brush, and yesterday, “weed wackin” dead grass along our west lot line, I steered around two of these orange flowers to preserve and protect ’em. How can such color grow from the dusty earth out here? Thank you, Lord.One more note of spring here…the tuxedo clad mockingbird starts his sing-a-thon, all day and most of the night, spinning tunes from his repertoire like a deejay.bam, this boy has often, like you, “set out in one direction, but the fingers on the keys took me elsewhere.” Uh huh.
be still my blue-blue heart….a squill named barbara? mon dieu. aren’t you the one who gave me st. babs in a can? and nowyou’ve got her staked on a nodding stem? this is tooo much honor for one blue-eyed maid….as for memorializing the little darlings, i’ve been plucking the dead and wounded from the sidewalks when i find them, lying there, limp, barely breathing. i tuck the dead ones in my pockets, to pull out some cold december day (the love notes with which we lace our lives), and the suffering, i race them home, bathe in cool cool waters, whisper vespers, and pray for almighty resurrection. all the while i wonder, who, pray tell, could so blithely behead these little babies of the spring? yo, njk, THRILLED to hear from you. xoxoxoxoxoxo from here to yonder…..i always brighten at a NJK sighting. as beeautiful a thing, as my blue-blue squill…..and, p.s., nice squeals all along the way, all you scilla punsters…..
dear bam, you were a sentinel, a prophet…. someone beckoning me to look for life, where I often find despair. Don’t get me wrong, I look for spring in many places, but I must confess that as I drive away from Hyde Park each morning, I drive around the park, that might just become the site for the Olympics, if the torch finds its way to the windy city in 2016. This park, sadly, is one that is often strewn with trash, and is not a safe place for a young woman like me to run alone most hours of the day. Sadly, this park, has held the bodies of women, beaten and shot to death. As I drive around this park and wonder when this piece of ground will be known as sacred space by all instead of a warzone, I found blue wisps of hope.There amidst the litter, amidst the gulls foraging for food in the outfield, I saw a field of blue. These natural saints of creation, reminded me that violence will not have the final say. Beauty can poke through the cracks of poverty, injustice and violence. I love that so many of us are spotting these blue wonders in the yards in our neighborhoods, but today, these blue wonders were a balm to my weary heart. Some days I fear that the sounds of gunfire will not stop in some buroughs of this city. I hope and pray, that I won’t be the only one who finds hope amidst the chaotic rubble on these streets. I hope that the vision of blue will give way to a place of peace.
slj, so uncanny that that’s the take you take this morning. as i too am sitting up here in my blue world feeling deeply the dissonance of the world i am sitting in today versus the one i tiptoed into last night. i was at the cook county juvenile detention center, sitting amid kids not many months older than my oldest. they are being tried as adults for horrible crimes. but as i listened to them in a sacred circle i heard so much and soo deeply the sadness and emptiness that propels them and pulls them into actions they regret, actions they defend (they needed food because there was none in the house, and no older man to provide, and small mouths to feed), actions for which they know they will pay a price–if not in the criminal justice system, then back out on the streets, were justice is not so neatly metered out. i could barely go to sleep last night, picturing their faces, their smiles, the life not yet extinguished from their eyes. i thought deeply about how we live on such disparate planets, yet really only live miles away from each other. i thought my little blue flowers are soooo insignificant, but now because you connect them to a place and hope, maybe they aren’t. have any of you read “miss rumphius”, by barbara cooney, one of my all-time favorite children’s books, about the woman who sought to leave beauty in her trail, so she scattered blue lupine seeds everywhere she walked……….perhaps we should up and scatter scilla bulbs all over parts of the city where beauty is a nearly lost commodity. perhaps that should only be the start. we have work to do, people. there are young children in this city–and this country and this world–going to bed night after night, hungry, scared, pummeled by the forces of the street. and there is, in many cases, no one and no arms to hold them tight. they end up, these children, on the wrong end of a gun. either end, their lives are lost. they read a poem last night, these boys did, about how, once behind bars, they felt forgotten to the world. we need to not forget. there is so much not forgetting to be done….how will we ever sleep? there are children among us who think that all of life is like the most violent of video games come to life. more than anything i wanted to scoop up those children, being tried as men, and to bring them into a world where food was in the cupboard AND on the table, where someone sat and listened, where someone believed….how can a child be on this planet a mere 14, 15 years, and already be a pawn in this wretched broken streetgame? where are the saints and leaders who will deliver them from this evil? where are the blue flowers in their ancient broken landscape…….
I have to add one more image at this particular juncture of this conversation. In my neighborhood, in a lakefront park, there is a beautiful, curious expanse of scilla. It is in the shape of a huge question mark.
jcv, now you’ve got us all curious with our own question marks dangling over our heads … too bad we can’t see a picture of that!
pjv, close your eyes and picture a river of scilla about a foot wide, shaped to grow in a giant cobalt question mark about 5 or 6 feet long. Then there is the dot at the bottom, of course. It is in a shady dirt patch beneath an enormous old tree and rolls downward along a slight hill. It’s been there as long as I’ve been in my neighborhood, more than 20 years now. Nobody I know knows who planted it, when, or why. But I think this spring it tells me to ask how I can, like Miss Rumphius, leave the world more beautiful than when I found it. And as we’ve seen from these thoughtful posts above there are many kinds of beauty to leave.
oh, my goodness gracious, this is the most amazing question mark i’ve ever heard of……..i want to come take a picture. isn’t it amazing what we see when we keep our eyes–and our hearts–open????? i didn’t even see this question lurking here till now. i love your interpretation, jcv. and that your wide-open eyes took it in, to tell all of us, in the first place……
jcv … thanks for taking me away to another world for a brief moment while I sit here in my lowly cubicle … bam, I too would love seeing a snap of that question mark …….
no blue here but the prospect park (a grand playground of green) by our place is awash in pink. magnolia, cherry blossoms, and other sweet petals (who i have to get to know) have burst all around. spring is so full here. it’s awakening memories and a longing buried deep within from the time when we had spring in chicago. at least i remember us having one when i was a kid. it seemed so fleeting in my adult years. is that just the selective memory cushioning me? i love the thought of you on your belly in a blanket of blue. xo