• Steph Shuff

Amaryllis

My dad gave me an amaryllis bulb for my birthday this year. Have you ever seen one? I love the way nature speaks powerful things without words. It gives us magic in a way that defies the need or ability for language to do it justice.


I planted the bulb a few days after my birthday. I stuck clean fingers into wet earth. I made a mess in my bathroom, and smiled as I swept dirt up off the floor.


What is it about planting things?


I was like the bulb - shelled, tough, frozen, small, buried. I put the pot on my desk, the place where I sit every day to write words down on pages in a feeble attempt to explain magic and heartache. A green stem broke from the bulb and crept a little taller every day. If I had had the patience, I could have watched the stem stretch with my naked eye.


I thought about setting up a camera to capture the growth, but I delight too much in the privacy of it all. This flower blooms for no one but herself, and I do not dare betray her willingness to share her magic every day with me. The pixels would bastardize her beauty.


Some days, I touch her stem, her bulb, her soil with my finger tips. She leans towards the sun that streams in through my window, so I spin her pot in little half turns. Mostly, I leave her be. In this way, she blooms. She is quiet and quick, slow enough to keep me waiting. My breath is bated.


Every day, I thank her for being, for sharing herself with me in this quiet little corner of my room, in this quiet little corner of the world. She does not ask for my praise or my approval. She just grows. And soon, she will bloom for no one. Somehow, knowing she would bloom without me makes me love her more.


Today, I can see the hint of a flower poking out from the top of the stem - green leaves part and reveal a shock of red - layers of fleshy petals that take their time to push up and out.


I don't ask her to bloom faster than she is willing. I just watch her and and love her in all her forms. I loved her as a small round bulb, as a short green stem, as a long and lanky stalk, and soon, if I am lucky, I will love her as a flower.


Most people love flowers for their blooms - they want the soft and colorful and fragrant parts. But before the flower ever bloomed, someone loved her as a seed, as a stalk, as a stem. Someone sat by her every day and thanked her for being what she was before she was beautiful.


This is how you love me.


I bloom for no one.


But also.


I bloom for you.

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