One theme. One poet. One memoirist.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Our theme for this week: Hope

I love spring flowers.

Fall has always been my favorite season, but there's something about the flowers that come up in the springtime that makes me joyful. Daffodils and lilies have long been among my favorites. I love the exuberance of daffodils. I love their unapologetic brightness as they bloom together. They bloom so early in the spring and are so short lived that they are truly a blessing every single year.

Lilies are much the same. They bloom early in the spring, are relatively short-lived, and are bright and beautiful. However, lilies have the added bonus of Easter symbolism (lilies have long been a symbol of rebirth and renewal) coupled with the fact that they smell outstanding. Despite the fact that they're traditionally funeral flowers (and consequently, I've seen more of them connected with moments of loss and heartbreak than I ever wanted) I still love them with all of my heart.

Yet while these flowers have long been tied for my favorite, the longer I live in Minnesota the more deeply I fall in love with the pasque flower. This remarkable little flower lives on the prairies of Minnesota--a landscape to which I feel myself absolutely unequal. The prairie is not for the faint-hearted. It's miles and miles of nothing except for open spaces. Having grown up in the glacial drumlins of Wisconsin, I'm used to hills and trees. I find the prairie and its open spaces unsettling at best and utterly terrifying at worst. I hate the feeling of being surrounded by nothing. This is a hard landscape; a challenging place to live, to grow, to remain hopeful. But it is a landscape that is capable of breath-taking beauty--the kind of beauty I find in pasque flowers. They're among the first flowers to bloom on the prairie, blossoms often unfolding alongside unmelted snow. They survive brutal winters and come up in these small clumps of white and purple every spring. I am constantly amazed that something so beautiful can bloom again and again from a landscape so unforgiving. Unlike daffodils and lilies which a cultivated by human hands, pasque flowers are part of their environment. They've adapted to the cold and adversity of the prairie to become something which, every spring, both transcends and remains a part of the landscape.



The pasque flowers hidden beneath the earth
do not know that the forecast for this weekend
calls for another foot of fresh snow.
They know only that the soil is a fraction of a degree warmer,
that the ice is melting and seeping down to where
they are beginning to extend their delicate roots,
and that the sun is just a bit brighter.
They know only that in a few weeks
it will be time to break forward from the hard prairie grasses,
stretch their fuzzy heads to the first spring rains, and bloom.


  1. Wonderful post, my darling! The poem shaped up perfectly!

  2. YES. yes, yes, Yes, YEs, YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. You, my dear, are turning into a regular Mary Oliver.

    Spring is coming!!!

  4. I'm really trying hard to use this blog to move away from some of the self-absorbed 1st person narrative poems I've been writing since, I don't know, 15? Hopefully it's starting to work.