There is much about a garden I understand far better now. I can see how the weather subtly (and sometimes, not so subtly) affects how a plant will grow, how well it will bloom. And there are still vast parts of the wilderness contained in the garden we try to keep, I have no clue about, and offer an endless stream of surprises.
Today it was this: a red spider lily beginning to bloom in the unlikeliest of places. I was out on frog patrol around our pool, looking for the hapless little amphibians who are lured into the water, can’t get out, and die of exhaustion. Just three days ag, there were four of them, a bear to catch and release. The routine doesn’t change: with scoop net in hand, I walk all the way around the pool, scanning both the bottom and the surface of the water, right next to the edges.
Today, something caught my eye where the pool skirt ends. I stopped and looked more closely. A very small red spider lily about to bloom. In the first couple of years after we moved to Lowndesboro, I’d forget about these beauties, another one of the magical harbingers of fall. Then, one morning, on my way to work, or on my way home, I’d see a flash of red. More often than not, I’d either stop and hit reverse or turn around and return to get out and look at the spider lily blooming on the side of the road. I’ve always gotten a little ‘flash forward’ of grey and chilly days, of sitting by the fireplace early in the morning the first time I see one. On and off, I’ve also thought I’d like a couple of patches of these lovely flowers in my garden; I’ve never done anything about it.
I certainly didn’t plant this one by our pool. I don’t know if I just never noticed it before, or it hasn’t pushed up through the ground since 2014. Perhaps, it’s come out each year but gotten mowed down by the Spouseman who loves him a really neat lawn with well-trimmed edges. I will accept this as a small gift of a Sunday morning free of a sermon I’ve been shaping all week and keeps me on a small adrenaline jag that intensifies in the couple of hours before church. I have been able to see this small miracle of beauty because I’m not engrossed in the silent prayers I raise, for enough people to come church, or propelled on by the need to press the blouse I’m planning to wear. That thing about the “tyranny of Sunday” for a priest–it is real.
Today I don’t have to hurry through my frog patrol to get on with my day. Not only were there no frogs to rescue. There was a spider lily waiting to be discovered. I got to walk in the midst of a quiet, rather cool, morning, in a liminal space that made the seeing the prayer.