Notice how when you say “I hate…” you can hear the bratty pre-teenager speak from inside you. “I hate looking at pictures of flowers,” I said to Deb to tease her. She’d threatened to show me five hundred pictures of flowers from her trip to Wales, pictures she took, she said, because of my interest in flowers. We were at that moment entering the conservatory of plants where we had gone to see Big Flower, the Amorphophallus (I get a kick out of typing that) in bloom. Okay, not really a flower, an inflorescence. Ask me the difference later.

There was a little truth in it although I don’t hate pictures of flowers. Faithful readers of this warble can attest to that. But there is an undeniable limit to my excitement. It’s not that the pictures aren’t beautiful; they are, every one of them and that’s the trouble. It’s expected. Beauty needs to bowl you over.

Still, who cares? It’s a flower, and what a flower does, whether it knows it or not, is suggest paradise. This is what you wear, it says, when you get there.

Three weeks ago I was at the nursery and saw some 4-inch lily stalks with the name tag, ‘Jennifer Pearl’. I bought two for my accordion teacher, a Jennifer, and two for myself. “My grandmother’s name was Pearl,” she said, delighted at the gift.

Here is what Jennifer Pearl has got herself up in.

Jennifer Pearl


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