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February 18, 2005
It was ages ago, back in the early fall when I was clearing out more ivy to enlarge a flower bed or two out front. It was inevitable that some buried tulip bulbs would come up with the ivy, and they did. I'll put them back in when I finish, I thought, and made a neatish pile on the sidewalk. But someone was coming for an appointment or I needed to catch a train: I scooped them up all the bulbs and put them in a dish. I'll just leave it here on the windowsill where I'm sure to see it, and stick them in this weekend. Well, next weekend. Soon.

Outside, the ground froze. Inside, Thanksgiving came and went, and Christmas. Outside, ice and snow. Inside, dishes and baking, the clatter of plates in the dish drainer. Forgotten, the tulip bulbs sat in their dish in the window sill, withered brown husks, and watched it all. I didn't even get around to giving up on them.

And this morning I notice that they have sprouted. With no encouragement from me or anyone else, the brown husks have fallen away to reveal creamy living bulbs, pale green shoots of an inch or more emerging from their pointed tops. Quick: a saucer of pebbles, some water. They'll bloom. Tulips in the spring.

Well, it's never too late. You can't screw up so badly that God can't find something worth building in the wreckage, that life can't assert its return when it is time. Life can be dispiriting: it is running out, like sand through an hourglass. But it is also exciting: just look at what can happen sometimes! And you don't even have to put a nickel in!
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