Rita - Jamestown, Rhode Island
Entered on March 19, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: hope, nature
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I believe everybody needs an amaryllis.

Mine came to me in that hectic blur just before the holidays, a Christmas present that couldn’t wait for its day on account of its overanxious buds. I didn’t know much about the plant — I just now figured out how to spell its name — but I set it on the island in our kitchen where it would get some sun and hopefully, if I remembered, some water.

Back in December, I barely had time to notice what was happening right there on my counter. And then one day, just like that, my amaryllis burst open. Where once there had been a slender bud, fireworks sparkled pink and white like lipstick on a freshly starched collar.

As if that weren’t spectacular enough, the other buds soon followed suit. One, two, three, four, five blossoms bloomed until the weight of all that beauty could no longer be held up by one tender shoot.

Well, that’s that, I thought. While packing away wreaths and tinsel, wind howling snow blowing outside my window, I considered sending what was left of my plant to the place where poinsettias go at that time of year.

“Wait a minute,” said my amaryllis. “You think that was something? You haven’t seen anything yet. After all, you were distracted in December, you weren’t really paying attention.”

And with that, out of the round mound on my counter, my amaryllis pushed a new shoot, impossibly bigger and greener than the one that had come before, reaching higher and higher, day after day, growing so quickly I swear I saw it actually moving.

This time around, I took notice of each new bud forming, one, two, three, four, five coming out of seemingly nowhere. This time around, I knew my plant would need a little help, a wooden stake to support what I was happily anticipating.

And then it came. An explosion in jubilant defiance of gray skies and blue moods, short days and long nights.

This I believe. Everybody needs an amaryllis.

For in every life, there are winters that stretch out too cold and too hard. There are troubles that linger on too long with too little hope. But an amaryllis is like keeping a fresh perspective right there on the kitchen counter. A circle of earth containing a tiny miracle. A sign of spring. A reminder that better things will bloom in the future.