I've never cared for hyacinths.
They remind me of the plastic flowers that were so popular with housewives in the sixties. At least one great aunt had one, if not several, potted plastic hyacinths atop her living room credenza. Worst of all was those singular hyacinths that popped up in the garden, most likely an errant bulb that survived being tossed in the ground in a discarded pot from Easter.
Our office moved this year and our parking garage is attached to a Whole Foods. My office is split 80/20 on the appreciation of WF, with the haters in the majority. I appreciate a place to get a fresh salad on the return from court or a roasted chicken for supper after a long work day. My daily run-throughs are enhanced by the displays of fluttery orchids, the langourous stems of blowsy tulips, and the massed pots of blue and pink hydrangeas. So nice to brush shoulders with spring while the snow was piling up on the sidewalks.
One afternoon I turned the corner, hunting for the last of the blood oranges, and my carriage squeaked to a halt. In front of me was a table massed with hyacinths. Amidst the refrigerator cases of meat and yogurts and beer was a huge display of the most outrageous, electric, clashing colors of magenta, purple, and white spikes. The chilled air of the market was laden with the heavy, perfumed fragrance that I usually reminded me of something rotting, but that day, filled my heart with the promise of spring.
So I succumbed. By the armful.
It seemed that the problem was not with the flower, but with the planting. It was meant to be seen in a crowd, shoulder to shoulder with its kind, a maddening crowd of spike florets, off-kilter stems, and colors that would make a minimalist cringe. Hyacinths are wild jungle creatures, tropical birds meant to nest in steam, hot climes of tangling vines, shrieking birds, and rotting vegetation. Not in neat rows lining paved sidewalks in spring.
The little wooden stool by the side window is with pots crammed side to side, stems supporting stems, teetering plantings in ever present danger of toppling in a heap of cracked pots and spilled soil onto the floor.
That is life, after all: abundance on the brink of ruin.
May this joyous day be filled with the abundance of love.