Arranging the Pieces… The blooms of the past

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By Tabitha Bozeman

Some of the first bits of green to show in our yard every March are irises. They are not the first Spring flowers to bloom — in fact, they are among the last — but as soon as those points of green start to show, I know winter is headed out. Many of the flowers that bloom in my yard every spring are more than reminders of the season. They are beautiful reminders of loved ones and friends.

I have irises scattered around the yard, and although they bloom all together, they are many different colors. When they are blooming at the right time, they are the best cover for Easter egg hunts and the flowers can even be used to dye eggs. My irises haven’t bloomed yet, so I most likely won’t get to dye eggs with them this year, but I wait every year to see and smell them. Their fragrance is amazing.

While I am still waiting for my irises, I have been admiring the flowers popping up all over and reminding the girls to appreciate the wisteria dripping down from the trees this week — they are here and gone so quickly, these early Spring beauties. I am already missing the daffodils that have nearly stopped blooming, and I’m trying to remember to stop and pay attention to the violets in the yard because they will disappear soon, too.

Rushing from home to work and back again, with activities and errands sprinkled in between, it can be hard to do much more than just admire the colors in passing. This week, though, I had a couple of solid hours with one of my girls to sit in a public park and really look at a small flower garden. As I watched the squirrels and robins hopping around in the blooms, I thought about Virginia Woolf’s observation that “until we can comprehend the beguiling beauty of a single flower, we are woefully unable to grasp the meaning and potential of life itself.”

I’d love to say I had an epiphany about the meaning and potential of life itself, and that I’d distilled that epiphany into a pithy comment, but I have not. I think that is part of the beauty of both flowers and potential, though. They are beautiful and fragile and finite. The moment we think we have grasped and claimed either, they begin to wilt. Better, then, to enjoy them while we have them, and let them remind us to slow down and pay attention.

The irises in our yard have begun to send up buds. I stop to check their progress every day. I love them all, but the lightest purple blooms are some of my favorites. They are a lovely yearly reminder that a friend valued his mother’s love for her garden highly enough to make sure some of her flowers would be enjoyed even after her passing. I have other flowers from friends and family, as well: white and yellow irises from my grandmother and great-grandmother; purple and yellow irises from a couple of sweet friends; amaryllis from a dear friend’s great-grandmother (Lydia Purtuit Brupbacher); 4-o’clocks and hibiscus from a neighbor-friend; hellebores, or Lenten roses, from another dear friend (and money-plant seeds I’m anxiously awaiting to sprout!); day lilies that won’t bloom until the heat has wilted most of my other flowers, from my very much missed “other mother”; sedum gold moss from my grandmother — and on and on. Flowers and plants and trees that are continual reminders not only of seasonal changes, but of people I love and miss. The act of caring for them is another way to add meaning and joy and connection to my life. I am excited about the potential and beauty of the flowers blooming, about to bloom and that will bloom in and around our yard this spring and summer.

Tabitha Bozeman teaches English at Gadsden State Community College, where she is the editor-in-chief of the Cardinal Arts Journal. The opinions expressed are her own. She may be reached at tabithabozeman@gmail.com.

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