My neighbor’s flowers are blooming. They are my first awareness as I breathe in the morning. Heady citrus and lily of the valley and one of the oldest scents I know: iris.
Not the sweet blue irises of Van Gogh’s fields, but great bearded irises whose petals bleed deep burgundy and bright plum and pure white. They smell spicy, like anise. They are the flowers my grandmother lined her home with; flecks of brightest color against a green garden gate.
I remember this home.
In the front yard she placed a cracked white fountain set apart from the saturated grass with rounded stones. Instead of filling it with water, she filled it with Oklahoma’s rich red soil and overloaded it with flowers. A rainbow of snapdragons that ached for the sky.
By the front window there was an ancient magnolia whose blooms grew bigger than my face and dropped gently, like overfull clouds, to the ground.
She let the gate that separated her driveway from the church grow wild and I stayed far away as it seemed to hum perpetually with bees.
It is a beautiful place that no longer exists, just a memory that I breathe myself into first thing in the morning.
And while I know that my desert life, lived in a second floor apartment with no fertile soil to call my own, can’t pull that fertile place into this present, I can still bring forth my own kind of happy blooms. And so that is what I’ll do, all the while breathing my neighbor’s irises.
This amigurumi flower was made freehand with a US 7/4.5mm hook and small amounts of yellow and pink Sugar ‘n Cream cotton yarn.