We thought we’d missed out on the rain. In the mid-afternoon, the clouds had heaped to the northwest, and I’d hurried at the clothesline, unpinning shirts and socks in the dimming light. But with only a few spatters and a low departing rumble, the storm had sped away and the sun shone bright again as we ate an early supper.
Later in the full dark, after we’d pulled the curtains and opened the wine and the pages, the thunder startled us all alert, and while we were still exclaiming, the rain came in a roar and rush and the wind whipped the branches in a frenzied dance. In an hour it was quiet again.
I did not find them until early afternoon, so many of their painted faces resting on the ground. Fed with warmth all through an early spring, my gladiolus have towered over the garden, and in some cases, well over the fences to which they are tethered. The cuplike blossoms filled with heavy rain in the night and the wild wind broke their slender stems, and there is something so sad and familiar about all those brilliant silk petals in the dirt.
But I’ve seen the beautiful faces of the broken before, and I knew what to do. My sharp clippers freed them from the plants that can’t feed or support them anymore, and I carried them inside, even more lovely gathered together, plum and salmon and white and rosy pink. In a tall vase of thick green glass, filled with cool water, they stood straight again. Their trimmed stems will continue to drink, and each bloom up the long stems will slowly open as they were made to do.
Some days it seems as if all the beauty we can find in this world has been through a storm tossed night, is a little bruised and shabby and glorious around the edges. I want to walk slowly enough to see it, love it, gather it, participate in a rescue if need be. Support, a cool drink, and a chance to continue blooming– sounds like a good prescription.