Thursday, December 27, 2012

Waiting for Paper Whites and Celebrating Grace

   So, last week, just before Christmas, we all noticed the Winter Solstice come and go. You did notice it, right? The shortest day of the lunar year is now behind us. This means that now, gradually, until the Vernal Equinox in late March and then the Summer Solstice in late June, the days are lengthening. If ever so slightly, we are now seeing a little more sun each and every day. Except for when it's hiding behind the formidable clouds. Like right this minute in central Oklahoma. But we know you're there, Sun!

   So that's all very exciting!

   Then, yesterday, I received via snail mail my first of what will soon be many garden seed catalogs. I should admit along with this feigned shock that on Christmas evening I had already surrendered to the urge for green and browsed the Internet (yes it was Pinterest, okay??!!) for gardening images and such. I just can't help it.

   Once the holidays are over (or shortly before the last hurrah) I have this intense biological craving for growth and freshness and live greenery.

   It so happens that coinciding with all of this chlorophyllic anticipation... a bowl of paper white bulbs which I have been nursing since around Halloween has been on the verge of blooming.

   This morning I just felt like it could happen at any moment, and since this will be my very first ever batch of successfully grown indoor flower bulbs in my whole long life! ...I did not want to miss the big moment.

   So for the bulk of my morning I sat contentedly next to the Christmas tree with my shiny new PAPER planner and a sharpened pencil and some orange juice and just watched it, this little glass bowl of promise. I watched the thick, fleshy stems bend indiscernibly toward the sunny east window. And I rotated the bowl gently to face the darker wall. Then the stems stretched again to face the sun. Back and forth, keeping the vertical, verdant lines as straight and strong as possible. I watched the towering bulbous pods atop those stems grow more pregnant with expectation, hour by quiet hour.

   Watching the slow, silent ballet of life take place on my coffee table, I was reminded of the magic, the miracle of living and dying. Of growth, transformation, yearning, and regeneration. I also wondered who the heck do I think I am forcing these bulbs to do the impossible?? bloom outside of their appointed times?
 But then I remembered Russia and all of her abundant hot houses in the midst of those endless winters . And the power of grace, the very real presence of blessings we do not deserve. Flowers held warmly and mercifully inside glass rooms where the frozen tundra can't hurt them. Love and joy held securely in our hearts and homes where darkness cannot creep in and steal them.

"In the depth of winter,
I have finally learned that within me there lay
an invincible summer."
~Albert Camus

   Mostly, you guys, I am just so excited to start planning the gardens for 2013 and begin work on composting, ordering, seed starting, etc. And I will try my best to be fueled by this excitement rather than paralyzed by it this year.

   But deeper than that, I am thrilled to be so in touch with the beauty of life. With all of its challenges, despite all of its inevitable pain, this world is so beyond words beautiful. And life is so rewarding when you actively live it.

   Don't be afraid to force bulbs a little ahead of springtime. I can't believe the difference this one spot of green makes in my living room! And don't be afraid to cultivate little joys, either. They may be exactly what lift you out of the darkest, coldest rooms of your life's winter.

   As I wrap up my midday chores and end my coffee table vigil, the paper whites have not quite bloomed. But I know they will. And in the mean time I am happy to watch and wait for that beautiful miracle.

Cultivate Joy.
Be Invincible.





  1. Perfect. Just perfect. I love your paperwhites and I love, love, love this post. Wishing you so much verdant grace. xo

    1. Thank you Periphery!! I knew your bamboo-digging, life-loving spirit would identify. xoxo Happy new year!

  2. Such simple beauty as a bowl of paperwhites to warm our spirits on a blustery winter day.

    1. Yep! Simple and pure. So pleasing! I think they bloom tomorrow, Heather! Stay warm. xooxo

  3. I have never done paper whites but have heard others talk about them, when is the best time to plant them or is it an anytime is a good time kinda plant?


    1. Hi Jeannie!! As far as I know, which is limited in this topic, paper whites and amaryllis are the 2 bulbs that can be forced indoors without any prior chilling, and most people, aiming for a Christmas week bloom, start them before Thanksgiving. Like, 6 weeks?

      I vote GO FOR IT. Try em any time, and have fun! The other bulbs like tulips and hyacinth etc, need several weeks of chilling and then again several weeks to grow, so by this point you've already got yourself close to gardening season! LOL If you have time, find a link over on the right over there -->> to my friend Dee's blog, "Red Dirt Ramblings" She has a ton of excellent bulb info this month! xoxo


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