We had poppies blooming in the fields in early January. It was all too early and not right and they were short-stemmed and struggling, but it was thrilling nonetheless. I cut one and spent several days watching it slowly melt away. It could barely hold on to its petals by the last evening. It's the most beautiful stage of this flower. The colors change and become translucent; the petals shrivel up and it weeps pollen all over the bookshelf.
It could be that winter finally decided to arrive, or that the start of a new year has begun to sink in, but I've been reflecting on the past one and what's to come (I'm also reading M Train and consequently listening to Patti Smith). Whatever it is, I'm thinking more and more about how powerful an effect flowers have on us. I am constantly in awe of them: each one so unique, with their own universes of likes and dislikes. Andrew and I fret of every single aspect of these tiny little lives in our fields. What to order? When to plant? How to plant? Do we water now or later? Will the stems stay straight? What do the voles want to eat? Will the stems get tall enough? Will they get too tall? When do we cut? How long will it last? Will it open in time? Does it smell enough, or too much? Why doesn't it smell?
Our days are full of constant questions and ongoing experiments for a single stem that only lasts a few days. I don't know if it's the process of growing over a few months or actually having a flower in my possession for a few days before its petals are too blown out and weak to hold on to the stem anymore, but it's intoxicating every time.
That's all to say, you should listen to this Patti Smith song.