Friday, August 10, 2012

once again surprised

once again surprised
by surprise lilies rising
naked from bare ground

Like a beautiful woman, this delicate, fragrant pink lily has many names. In Latin it is Lycoris squamigera, a member of the amaryllis family. My grandmother told me they were magic lilies, my other grandmother referred to them as resurrection lilies, my mother called them surprise lilies, while my father preferred naked ladies.
          All of these common names reflect the flower's magical, surprising, naked resurrection. In June long strappy green leaves appear and die away without producing flowers. Then in late July a leafless scape topped by a pointed umbel springs up about knee high and unfolds like origami into a cluster of pink trumpets. 
          This year nearly everything dried up and failed to bloom or fruit during the extreme heat and drought during June and July. So I was extra surprised when purple spear heads pushed up on bare stalks through the barren ground in late July. My beds of lilies did not produce as abundantly as usual, but their appearance at all feels like a miracle.

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