Charlie Brown had his pitiful little Christmas tree. I have my two somewhat lumpy Amaryllis bulbs.
At Thanksgiving, I love to start an Amaryllis bulb to have a glorious red flower for Christmas. This year, the bulbs are strong and healthy, and bursting with life, but the aesthetics so far leave room for improvement. I’m an optimist. I’ll reserve judgment until Christmas.
The Amaryllis, originally from South Africa or South America, depending on which website you happen to visit, carries with it a legend. I was hoping the legend would either tie in with my Charlie Brown theme or at least have something to do with Christmas. Alas, instead the legend is a bloody one of desperate love and frightening self mutilation.
In ancient Greece, a young shepherdess fell in love with a beautiful young man who cared intensely for his flowers. He let it be known that only a new and wonderful flower would win his heart. Amaryllis, the shepherdess, loved him so much that she went to a High Priestess for advice. The woman gave her a golden arrow and told her to go everyday to the young man’s house and to pierce her heart with the arrow. For twenty-nine days she did this, with more and more blood flowing from her heart each day. On the thirtieth day, she saw a strange new species of flower that she’d never seen before on the path to her beloved’s house. She gathered an armload of the blooms and won the young man’s heart. He of course named the wonderful new flowers after the tenacious and masochistic shepherdess, Amaryllis.
Like I said, absolutely no connection to Christmas.
We recently moved to Colorado from Oklahoma where snow and ice are rare and usually last only for a day or two. In our small mountain community here in Southern Colorado, when the snow comes, it doesn’t leave. Our current snow has been on the ground for almost four weeks now.
In self defense, I started my two Charlie Brown Amaryllis bulbs to brighten the frozen world outside our patio door. The thing that fascinates me about the Amaryllis is its ferocious bursting life energy. They grow at an unbelievable rate, clawing their way toward Heaven, gaining inches in stature daily. I expect to have flowers on both plants by Christmas. I’m writing this on Sunday evening, December 15, so I have ten days for the bursting blooms to arrive. I may be overly optimistic. We’ll see. Whether I’m right or wrong, what better time than Christmas to be optimistic.
Coming as it does in deep winter, Christmas reminds me of the kindness that people are capable of. For a while, we’re all on if not our best behavior, at least our better behavior. And what’s not to love with the lights, the tinsel, the glitter, and the music that Christmas generates. It brings energy and hope into a cold and bleak time. Each year Christmas also reminds me to stop and feel the moment, to recognize that life goes by much too quickly, that we need to let those we love know how much we care. It reminds me not to put off anything that is important.
So to all of you visitors to my webpage, have a wonderful, warm and kind Christmas. Be good to yourselves and those you love. And take a moment to celebrate this moment in your life and feel the gift that is yours in each breath you take.