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July 12, 2005
It is the time of the lilies. They are hard to pass by, they are so alluring -- one want to look into their mysterious throats, to note their lovely trumpet shapes, take in their brilliant colors. Fat bumblebees don't even try to resist: they cling drunkenly to pollen-covered stamens and stagger out a little while later, their legs and thoraxes covered with telltale yellow dust.

I bring lilies home for church a few weeks after every Easter, the pure white Easter lilies, so by now there are dozens of them in our garden, too. They will not bloom their first summer -- they were forced at the florist for Easter Day, and that's it for the year. But the following year they appear, five or six gorgeous long trumpets on a stem. Every year, for years and years, they will come. And they put out new plants, too, little ones by their sides, who grow up and bring forth pearly trumpets, too.

They put out their scent in the evening -- to get it in the daytime, you have to put your nose right in the flower, and should expect to share that space with the bumblebee. But in the dark their perfume fills the air, intoxicating and fruity, dense. In your summer garden: the unmistakable smell of Easter.

In the dark of an early spring morning, you open the church for the first service It has been a long and exhausting Holy Week, and you are tired. You will have a family feast and then put your feet up this afternoon. You are looking forward to horizontality.

But as soon as the door swings open, the scent of the lilies hits you and you are no longer tired. All your memories spring to life: childhood Easters, Easter songs, "Welcome Happy Morning!" and "Come Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain!" and "He is Risen." Other churches on other dark mornings with nobody else there yet, just you and the deep fragrance, and you silent and wondering, happy to be there alone for a moment in the fruitful dark, waiting to turn on the light so as not to break the spell of all the yesterdays that crowd together in your heart. He is the Alpha and the Omega, you think, the first and the last. Oh, yes. And you breathe it in, again and again.

They put out their scent in the evening. In the dark, with nobody watching. And their spirit breath fills you beyond mere happiness.
Copyright © 2022 Barbara Crafton
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