Thursday, September 3, 2009

water lilies

When I took the dinghy out on Sunday, I swiped two water lilies. I'm not sure why I always feel slightly guilty about picking flowers that aren't from my own garden - if I'm at the beach or walking through the woods, I'm more than happy to pick up rocks and shells and stick them in my pocket. Flowers always seem different - like they should be there for everyone's enjoyment because they add to the beauty of a place. Along those lines, a rock or a shell won't be missed.
I was paddling along, listening to the audio-book of "Shiver" when I came across a lily that wasn't attached to a lily pad. It was gorgeous, floating there, in the middle of the lake all alone, huge white petals bouncing along in the water. I circled it a few times before deciding that I was going to swipe it, and then a few more times before I could get within arms reach of it and then I grabbed it and sat it on my sandal. I was out there for another hour or so, and, since the lily wasn't in the water, it started to shrivel. I finished my tea, filled the bottle with pond water, but it was too late. So I paddled back out to one of the lily groves (I've never seen so many lilies as there were that day - veritable groves, I tell you!) and broke a large one free, managing not to topple the dinghy in the process. Lily stems turn out to be formidable foes. I balanced it in the water bottle and made it back to shore without upending the bottle.
At home, I poured the lake water into a big blue bowl, filled it the rest of the way with tap, and put the lilies in. That night, both lilies closed and I was disappointed with myself for taking them away from the lake if all they were going to do is die. But then, lo and behold, the next morning, they both opened. And then promptly closed in the evening. The first lily never reopened after that, but every day since, that second has opened in the morning and closed in the evening. The bowl is still sitting in my kitchen, where there are no windows, and every time I look at it, I wonder - how does it know what time it is?

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