I awoke early this morning with the intention of going for a long bike ride before the heat of the day set in. As I ate breakfast on the balcony, something new caught my eye.
Something that hadn’t been there before.
Delighted, I put cycling plans on hold and sat awhile watching loveliness blossom before my eyes.
This was supposed to be impossible. Gardening books and nursery experts alike told me that a water lilly will not bloom in the shade. They need sun — lots and lots of direct, blazing sun — to thrive. With a balcony that gets, at best, only a couple of hours of direct sun per day, I planted the lilly for its lilly pads and resigned myself to never seeing any flowers. Well, mostly resigned myself. For the past year and a half I’ve been content with lilly pads, but over the past few weeks as we toured Vietnam and Cambodia, with their lakes and ponds and fountains full of lotuses and lillies, I secretly began to hope that I might be so lucky. (Is it coincidence that I made a contribution to the god of good luck in that pagoda in Saigon? Who knows, but I’m not going to argue…)
I knew couldn’t spend all of my day perched on the edge of my barrel amongst the begonias and New Guinea impatiens. I still had that bike ride to do (now in 90+ degree heat) and all my other Saturday errands. But I’m glad I took the time to watch the lilly bloom. By the time I returned in late afternoon, the flower had already closed. I don’t know whether it just sensed the coming evening and will reopen again tomorrow, or if that’s all I’ll get to see; some lillies, I know, bloom only for a few hours. Either way, it was wonderful.