Sunday, December 23, 2012

The red that lies beneath

The ground is good and frozen here now, not like it is in Minneapolis by any means, but enough that all the perennials that don't show tufts of green are well hidden from sight.

So, when I stop at the stop sign across from Carl Lashmit and Vosco Angelov's house in Chattahoochee Hills, I can only see their long, earthen borders, which are now bedded down for the winter.  My friend Karen Bradley Villano introduced me to these guys, and I looking forward to more visits with them.  They are the kind of gardeners I would like to be.  Flowers are their main concern, and they are entirely hands-on types who experiment and watch for anomalies that occur (like a chrysanthemum that has popped up and is slightly different from the nearby original).

I took this photograph on an early visit, maybe the first one.  Carl showed me many day lilies - all of them stunning - that he had collected or hybridized.  I love the almost-white, lemon-yellow tinted ones the best, but second I like the red ones.  Of course, in my usual haphazard fashion, I didn't write down which ones are named or those that are surprise crosses that have come up in the beds.  Next year, I'll try to do that.

So, the above red day lily is unnamed for today.  It might well be a famous flower that someone, somewhere hybridized and then introduced.  Still, I love the sunny nature of this flower on this cold winter's day.

Day lilies have always intrigued me.  A flower opens, is beautiful as long as there is sunlight, and by the next morning is withered and spent.  That flower is gone forever.

But if you look closely, you'll see there's a bud waiting to open on the same scape.  The flowers you see above will not exist on the morrow, but a new one will have taken its place.

The obvious metaphor here is that one only has the present.  The flower that was there yesterday will never come back.  The one that is waiting in the bud cannot be seen yet.  All you have is the beautiful flower of today.

Frankly, I don't like the thought of this, as I like keeping the past alive in my mind, and I'm always looking forward to the future.  I like to see life more as one big continuum, where you can appreciate the past, present and future all at once, without any regret or sadness.

So, with only two days left until Christmas, that's what I'm seeing in these beautiful red flowers, now hidden from view and protected and safe in the rich soil Carl and Vosco have provided.  The thought that these day lilies exist is enough to bring some cheer to my heart on this cold December morning.

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