One holiday season, a friend gave me a boxed amaryllis. Remembering how much I like them gracing my window ledge, I looked forward to seeing this one bloom.
I got home and opened the box only to find a large bulb blinking back at me. Without the right size pot and good soil, this baby would have to wait until I got to the garden store. Knowing bulbs keep in the dark, I carefully placed it back on top of the packing straw, closed the box and set it in a dark corner, reminding myself to remember to buy the pot and soil. And promptly forgot. Holidays over, I became submerged with the details of living, clients and errands, music and yoga, driving here and there and everywhere, except to the garden store.
And then one morning, something caught my eye. There, coming out through an opening on the box was a long, serpentine stalk seeking sunlight. I was horrified. The poor thing — I had neglected it. And now, it had become a full-fledged amaryllis emergency!
I vowed to the bulb that I would make the stop that very day and went through the logistics in my mind: Lunch at Cobble Creek with some old work friends and then to Handelmann's, the garden store.
After lunch, I took the exit for Handelmann's but I had a funny feeling in my gut as I got off the ramp. When I got to the parking lot, I couldn't believe my eyes. There were tractors hard at work flattening mounds of soil…where Handelmann's used to stand. The whole shopping area had been razed to the ground.
Hmmm. What's this about? Am I supposed to go home? What about the poor amaryllis? I absolutely had to find the pot and soil immediately. My sense of responsibility was feeling quite urgent.
Time for Plan B. I headed back to the highway, and as I drove toward the entry ramp, I suddenly found myself on a service road instead…with no idea how I got there instead of the highway.
Again I wondered, what's going on? I was foiled again in my attempt to rescue the plant. My anxiety about being a bad parent to the amaryllis was growing in magnitude. The critical self-talk was loud and clear. Saving that amaryllis had turned into a metaphor for my life
I finally made my way to Frank's Garden Store and went in with my small but significant shopping list. I wandered up and down the aisles, but all the pots I found seemed all wrong for the job – wrong size, wrong color, wrong shape, wrong price. What should have taken five minutes was turning into a major project. I finally found a mousy tan plastic self-waterer, and hoping it would look nice with red-and-white blooms, I paid the cashier and raced back home. I spread out some newspaper and put on soothing music, as much for the bulb as for me. I figured it had already been a pretty traumatic day for the bulb. I wanted to create a relaxed atmosphere for its transfer from box to pot, straw to soil. After all, it was about to relocate for good – which can be pretty traumatic to anyone.
I took the price tag off the pot, and poured the potting compost. Gently opening the box, I lifted the bulb out, apologizing profusely for letting it sit for so long in the box. I scooped up the packing straw and set it down. That's when I understood, in a moment, what all of my mishaps were about. There, under the straw, was a small plastic bag filled with potting soil, nestled snugly in a perfectly sized pot. I couldn't believe it. It was there all along, waiting for me to discover it.
I could only laugh. All the signals – from Handelmann's bulldozers to wrong turns on service roads to not finding the right size pot – spirit had tried to stop me, but I wouldn't listen. I found myself wondering about how often it happens when I don't have the clarity to see it. And when I do have the clarity, how often do I ignore it?
I planted the bulb straight up, but because of how it had grown out of the side of the box, the foot-long stalk pointed to the right at a 45-degree angle from the pot. I prayed over the plant, imagining it as tall, healthy and flowering, holding my hands over it and sending it healing, loving energy. I even sang to it.
By the next day, the stalk was upright, growing toward the sky. And a second stalk was beginning to climb straight up the center. Today, all of the flowers are open and trumpeting their beauty in the window for those who look up to see.
The amaryllis emergency is officially over. It ended with a fanfare and a smile.
Author Sandi Kimmel is available for Keynotes & Workshops. For info click here.
You have permission to reprint this story for use in your e-zine, at your website or in your newsletter. The only requirement is to include the following footer:
© 2010 Sandi Kimmel. For more original content like this, visit www.sandikimmel.com. Reprint permission granted with this footer included.