Friday, July 24, 2009

Day-long Lilies

Our friends who have a spectacular day-lily garden come for dinner and bring an Easter basket filled with a collection of today's blooms. I try to name the colors--lemon peel yellow, brick red, tangerine, plum, peach, cream.

After dinner, while we're talking in the living room, i rearrange the single flowers to see the effect of their colors. A petal comes loose.

"Eat it," says Frank.

Mmmm. Nice crisp texture with a slightly perfumy taste.

"Are they in water?" my sweetie asks with concern.

"No," says Claire. "They just last a day. Tomorrow morning they'll be compost."

I am of the nature to die. Death is unavoidable--for day-lilies whose life span is a single day or for me. Death is certain, but unlike the day-lilies, the time of my death is uncertain.

As we talk about children and grandchildren, i continue to finger the day-lilies. The triple peach has the sweetest fragrance. The grape-colored six-pointed star measures eight inches across, while its tiny plum-colored cousin with recurved petals is demurely petite by comparison.

When Frank and Claire leave, i send their basket home with them and scatter the loose blossoms on the kitchen table. The floral funeral will come at dawn.

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