Last week I ordered a bunch of tulips in honour of the memory of a friend. I remember them being one of her favourite flowers. She bought them for me as a birthday gift one year, and I did the same for her. After the first exchange, I planned to buy her a tulip plant every year, but sadly, I never did. I have always loved tulips and I wanted to fill my house with their beauty, to watch them slowly bloom. A way of saying thank you and goodbye. A way to settle my heart.
The florist managed to find some at the market. A beautiful magenta colour. They arrived with tall stalks and closed buds the shape of my tears. I placed them in an art deco vase on the dinning table. They held the centre of the room, drawing everything towards them. These tulips have been very different to Sylvia Plath's. They are a different colour, and I knew they would not eat our oxygen. I knew they would feed me, and my family, with love. There is a gentleness about them.
Some say tulips symbolise enduring love, but love is not something that has to, or that we have to, endure. The love tulips symbolise is deep and unconditional. It is everlasting.
I have watched them slowly bloom. It began with a softening at the very tips. Their shape changed as the petals moved to create a gentle opening. Each day, their new shape has been equally as beautiful as the one from the day before. The have opened themselves to the warmth of the world around them. Opened to show the delicate beauty of the gifts they hold inside. The base of their bloom, now pure white. In the early morning light, you can see where the petals are overlapping.
The tulips are no longer facing toward the heavenly sky. They have softened and their stalks are now curved and bend in all directions. The bunch itself has bloomed like one giant petal.
I have breathed alongside these beautiful flowers and witnessed their change. There has been many teachings from these tulips. Teachings about love and life - and to come, teachings of loss when the petals fall.
In grief, we may desire to harden and close our heart. But what would come of the world if we did?
Thankfully the tulips have gifted me their teachings, to soften an open my heart.
Written in loving memory.