I always admired my friend who planted bulbs each year. She would tuck them into a nest of colored stones in glass vases of all shapes and sizes, beveled, smooth, sometimes translucent antique green, and then she'd add just enough water.
I would enter her living room in the bleak half days of winter to see their prehistoric brown bulb bodies resting there along the windowsill.
Time felt folded up, all the other womens' hands nestling bulbs in vessels from decades and centuries past seemed there too in this simple act of cultivating a sure and steady beauty.
Each time I visited I looked for something new in the process of emergence. White tendril roots burrowing around the colored pebbles, finding their bearing towards the bottom of the glass.
In time, the bulbs softened, opening, the shoots emerged confident. A spring green that shimmered with tender newness.
In the end, what lay beyond the visible was most instructive. Inherent in the sleeping bulb was the indelible life of the flower. A deeply encoded unfolding. Forgiving in its needs, simply light and water were conditions enough for the invitation.
Arriving, the blooms, expressive and fragrant, had no thoughts of squandering this one precious chance.
Could it be that my blooming is as promised as the paper white? In this long and winding life, the heart yawning open and closed, the mind spinning gauzy dreams and fretful fevers, I long for the bright green stem of myself, for the reaching, the flowering, the withering, and the rest.