This fantastic spider lily (crinum) grows in my garden. The plant is lush and green most of the year. I serendipitously planted it in just the right place, so it grows nearly 5’ tall and erupts in a fireworks-like display of white blooms in summer.
In early June, this plant, like me, was anticipating a beautiful summer, made up of pleasant temperatures, sunny days, and gentle rains. I was hoping for happy days, seeing friends, doing a little traveling, and enjoying predictable weather.
During June, my lily produced nine fabulous blooms. The buds ranging from 4”-7″ in length sneak up through the sword-like leaves to break out into dozens of white flowers with delicate pink stamens. One bud produces multiple flowers lasting several days. It is a joy to see each morning.
In June, I anticipated visiting a dozen gardens in California, Montreal, and Michigan. Then reality set in. July brought scorching temperatures, pounding rain, and smoky skies. My lily’s beautiful green leaves turned brown and turned down, looking the worst I could remember. For me, there were closed borders, a Delta variant, and scary skies with flying becoming a mask battleground.
In August, our monsoon season began, there was rain, cooler temperatures, and my lily sensed this change. It drank up the rain, and one morning, I discovered a new bud emerging among the browned leaves. A flower wants to bloom, and it was trying again. It may seem crazy for a plant to put all its energy into a flower stalk under such harsh conditions, yet that is what a flower is destined to do, bloom and create a beautiful moment. Days later the temperatures shot back up, and the flower stem fell over, landing amidst a sunflower. The bloom opened, but it languished. It dried up nearly as soon as it flowered.
It seems a perfect metaphor for life with this dreadful virus. My lily wants to bloom; it sends up new leaves, buds, it wills itself to make the best of the situation at hand. We humans have the same challenge. Uncertainty prevails. We don’t know what the weather or the virus will bring. What we need to bloom is a commitment to our enthusiasm for life. No matter what our interests are, each day is full of possibilities. At the same time, conditions are stressful. While we may feel frustrated by our ability to make plans, we are born to flourish and bloom, even if, like my lily, we fall into a different environment than planned. I resolve to keep growing, and I hope you do too.