Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Lily Flower

Many months back, I found what looked like a lily bulb in a pile of raked leaves. I had absolutely no idea how it found its way into the heap, but I picked it up and planted it in a pot that I had prepared for a plant I eventually never bought.
For more than a year, I cared for the plant, and since one flowering season passed without any action, I never realistically expected to have it bear flowers.Last week, while watering the plant, thought I saw what could have passed for a tiny bud. The next day it had grown in size, and on the third day, it was a full-fledged bud.
On Thursday morning, it showed all signs of opening up pretty soon, and by evening, there was a beautiful red lily flower.
So beautiful was it, and so unexpected, that ruling against my instincts, I brought it indoors – after all, my younger son was now a mature three and a half year old, he now knows better than to pluck flowers!
The kids went berserk seeing the flower – they had never seen anything as big, as red and as shiny in a pot in their living room. The younger one smelt it, the older one took photographs of it, I was happy I had brought the plant indoors so we could enjoy it.
There was another bud too – I wondered if it would open out before the first one wilted away.

“Mamma, that pretty flower. Now it is many pretty flowers”, lisped the younger one, thumb firmly in his mouth. I had no idea what he was talking about, but since he seemed really excited about it, I left what I was doing and went to see.

He had reduced the flower and the bud to shreds. There was nothing left on the plant except the shiny green leaves, not even the promise of another bud, much less another flower.

To say I was devastated would perhaps start to describe how I felt. More than anything else, it was the randomness of the destruction that got to me. When you nurture something for months, without any expectations, then have it cut short in the first flush of youth – few things are more distressing than that.

All weekend, I mourned the loss of the flower and the bud. And then I realized that it was not as tragic as I made it out to be. The flower had bloomed. It had been appreciated. It had brought a new dimension of beauty into our lives. Maybe being cut short in its prime was better than seeing the flower whither and die?

Easter Lily
Requiescat in Pace 
And come back again soon.

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Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Beautiful story! And...aren't children a challenge!? He had a whole different idea about what he was doing (making more flowers.) It's interesting to see what goes through their heads.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Jan said...

A long time ago, when my youngest was about ten, we lived in a house that had a big garden including roses. It also included a drive on mower (stupid stupid stupid things!). One day I got home from work to see my rose bushes were down to the ground. Calvin, my young guy, said "I just gave them a good hard pruning!" Well, actually he shouted it at me as I chased him furiously around the yard.
kids! who'd 'ave 'em?!
Guess we would.

Cruella Collett said...

Oh - I almost shed a couple of tears there. Partly because I felt your pain for the flower, and partly because I couldn't help laughing madly at the logic of your son. Kids are so adorable!
To add to the "up side" of losing this flower early - you got a great story out of it (one that you must make sure to retell once your son is a famous gardener, president or astronaut).

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Elizabeth - You can't beat a kid's logic, can you?

@ Jan - oops. Your poor rose plants! And those two lines of yours sums up motherhood - "Kids! Who'd 'ave 'em? Guess we would."

@ Mari - that is a thought. Now, the kid better grow up to be something famous, so I can use all these things against him!

Watery Tart said...

Ohhhh, the poor lily! It is sweet though, that he was trying to make more (and I love the words he used for it). Did he realize how upset you were? Maybe it is the lesson for next time so it won't happen again?

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Ah, children! They may be infuriating (sometimes, bless them) but they do continuously teach us a new way to look at the world. I could never grow a lily. Rejoice that you can and look at the other small beings that you are obviously nourishing just as well!


Lisa said...

"The flower had bloomed. It had been appreciated. It had brought a new dimension of beauty into our lives. Maybe being cut short in its prime was better than seeing the flower whither and die?" I love this. There is nothing sadder to me than flowers in a vase that are dying.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Tami - he did realise I was upset, but if you think he is not going to do it again, think again!!! I'm just going to be more sensible in future and let them be where they are and not bring them indoors.

@ Elspeth - I never thought of it that way - that even one lily flowered for me is a blessing many others haven't had.

@ Lisa - I too prefer flowers on a plant. An avid gardener would say that if you pluck the flowers from the plant, the plant will actually flower more, but I would rather not.

dipali said...

This was a bonus flower in your life. And your son was trying to create more beauty for you.....
Another bonus, no?

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ dipali - it was definitely a bonus flower,so not complaining any more. But I never thought of it as the son creating more beauty for me.

Anonymous said...

I think he truly wanted to make abundance for you -he may now be confused that Mama didn't like his more-babies and may need reinforcing when the LILY flowers again next year!!! but what a challenge. p.s. my sunflower is still hanging in there

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Marian - that sunflower of yours is a survivor if there ever was one. All my positive thoughts are with her.
And yes, the son will need lots of reinforcing between now and the next time. May just succeed!


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