Saturday, May 7, 2011

the daffodils are breaking my heart

I collect flowers, other peoples' flowers and I am an excellent flower thief.  Once when home on a college spring break my sister and I stayed up till the pre-dawn hours and we scavenged the neighborhood breaking off tulip, lily-of-the-valley, and rose and we filled every mayonnaise jar and beer bottle we could find back at the house. I can still see the soft pink light in the gardens and we were laughing  and shushing each other, silly children.  We returned to our beds waiting for our mother to wake and there were probably fifty containers of flowers setting around the house and it was Mothers' Day.

I drive the back roads like I do every spring and there is a catch in my throat.  In a few days there will be purple phlox, yellow irises and little daffodil trumpets in these meadows.

I know these unchecked gardens well.  My mother and I discovered them over the years and I always carried a scissors in the car for the impromptu bouquet that would grace her kitchen table. I clipped my brother's tall lilac bushes trying not to fall off the hood of my car or arouse his pit bull's attention.  I remember last spring with an increased intensity.  On some unconscious level I sensed her time was fading  and I could not pass a flower without taking it back to her.  She's not here this May and I realize this season may always cause me barbs and thorns.  My mother left us at the height of summer, a sultry July night and the barren January landscapes made me feel protected and away from that awful time. In the icy months of an Iowan winter I am safe.  And now these daffodils are breaking my heart.