|"Daylilies and Coneflowers", oil,|
by Roxanne Steed
I guess I must have already known this, but for some reason I found it somewhat astonishing when Delycia told me yesterday that daylilies actually do bloom for only a single day. All that work, I thought -- all those frozen February weeks, then all those spring and summer days of patiently pushing up through soil and then air – all that for just a few short hours of splendor! As she was speaking, I was looking at a particularly remarkable yellow lily near us, and found it startling to realize that it had bloomed just that morning and would be colorless and shriveled tomorrow. For a few minutes, as we often do, we strolled among her good-looking lilies, admiring the intense and almost furious colors of some, as if they were softly shouting to us about how handsome they were on this single day of their lives. It seemed strange, as we walked, that these beautiful blossoms would wither and waste away by the morning, but I couldn’t help thinking, too, that that’s also sort of the glory of life – that things are continually leaving us so that others can come and take their places. New lily blossoms are born each day, but only because yesterday’s blossoms bowed down and departed, and, in fact, new lives of all kinds arrive among us because old lives give back the gift of living. You might say we see death each day in Delycia’s garden – the death of dozens of beautiful blossoms – but precisely because of the deaths, we also see, each morning, the delivery of dozens of new blossoms, fresh and mint-condition miracles of color. I guess it’s part of the strange magnificence of our lives on this planet, that death, the most feared of all our foes, is actually what opens the door to life.