When I rounded the bend in the cul-de-sac in front of my house, I stopped dead in my tracks to stare at the most beautiful of blooms, an iris, planted in our community garden by my neighbor, a variety in Connecticut that always produces its clusters of flowers in early June, hearty and elegant with the graceful curves and colorations of its petals.
But this was November, nearly five full months past its days for blooming.
On one side just under a petal, another fully developed bud was in waiting with a second further down the stem. The shock for someone like me who has been observing the blossoming of these flowers for over seventy years—though never in November—felt like a blow, its presence at this time of year more alarming than welcome, more a statement about the warming of the planet than a gift from nature, stunning as it was.
Nevertheless as a 21st century senior, I took out my cell and snapped pictures of this anomaly, from all sides, attempting to include the yellowing of the maple and the dogwood in the background. The rock sitting behind the bloom in the photo I’ve posted, reminds me of a tombstone, hinting at the vulnerability of all that is organic and pulsing with life, giving and taking from the atmosphere that surrounds our planet, the cover that makes our beautiful earth the only one of its kind in our universe.
How did we get to this place? How can I look my children and grandchildren in the eye, having been part of a generation that has knowingly supported a way of life that robs the planet of its resources, never to be replenished, a well-documented condition in the USA since the 1960s? Better yet, how can I impress them with the desperate need for all of us to change our ways, to support the plans for global amends and restoration? That’s the message I’ll take from the November Iris, a plant that can only communicate by doing what it does best.