In the batting of an eyelid, you populated your patch of the earth quickly and then you were gone. From the countless first buds, like a sea of white lights in the night, you seemed to straddle the long, slow work of evolution and were suddenly there, not in one or two but in plenty. I visited you each morning to watch a gradual opening, but you were in a different rhythm, or keeping ahead of all rhythms, like a face that has undergone age-defying treatment. You played with my ingrained sense of time – past, present and future – and claimed that such conventions were old hat. There was just you and the cascades of giddy pleasure that fell from your branches, forever in this fleeting moment.
The sweetness of your flowers wrapped me in sticky cotton candy - in too much there was never enough. Their opening was like the grand opening of a giant department store, offering early-bird discounts. The pollinators clambered over one another to get the most and the best, fastest. The usual graces – keeping to one’s flower or only climbing into a new one when it became vacant – were a wistful memory. The distance between wanting and getting vanished, meaning we were in danger.
You invaded the neighboring flower beds, offering no other justification than that you needed the space. I cut back your unsightly upshoots, the tiny angry thorns penetrating my thin garden gloves. But it seemed hopeless. You were like a hydra, with tendrils that beckoned to be cut so they could multiply.
Just as this wild dance was at its most virulent, your petals began to fall like young men on the battlefield, and within a day all that was left was a colorless bush. You retreated into the shadow of your dark leaves, empty as a widow. All’s quiet on the western front. The genie is back in the bottle. But your short life haunts my thoughts daily, and I meditate to still them.
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