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I watched a Lotus in the garden

I'm told there's a lotus in the garden.

Spring is defrosting and its quiet thawing drips into my Grandmother's pond. Standing in the middle of her kitchen with a floral mug, I stare at the pond circled by sparse beds of roses. The rusting window frames and spackles of dry rain on the glass obscures my peripherals. Still, the swift bitterness of over-brewed and steamless tea lingers the same way my attention remains on the pond, as if expecting a lotus blossom to break its infant slumber. Today was not that day. I turned away from the window and cast sullen shadows in my steps, hoping the lotus would seek out my attention like a scolded child. Today was not that day.

I counted the pond leaves spreading in the garden.

Thin sheets of warm green hues stem out of the mud and expand across the surface, like an aging tabby stretching out its limbs in large puddles of the sun after a tiresome day of waking up. Light graces the leaves with a waxy gloss, more dewy and glistening than the drained and grainy complexion I spooked myself with the bathroom mirror. The crummy kitchen windows do their best to scatter my likeness and deform the way my mouth and eyebrows sag, their corners were too heavy to lift and too sapping to amend. There was a sullied reflection of a person that hated mornings, and despised everything after mornings even more. And there was no sign of a lotus.

I'm surprised how small the bud appears in the garden.

Although it stands taller than its leaves, the upright bud is outnumbered by the leaves towering over the watery space. Barricaded by a broken chair with a furry cushion, I plant myself between the kitchen table and window sill and lean into the glass's dusty film. Barely awake and almost alive in spirit, I squint and comb through the various brushstrokes of green painting the pond to find a single line joined to a tapered bulb. The peaks of the outer petals that cocoon the blossom almost peek out of the seamless form like the tips of your fingers when pressed palm-to-palm; not curling outwards, but make you aware of the multiple shapes that compound to make a single silhouette. My tea is a little less tepid than it was when I first found out about the lotus; my hands grasp the base and handle to concentrate and mold the object to my outline, and keep the kind warmth I could not achieve alone. Soon, the finger petals will perform a single unified task, to achieve a single action. A bulb will soon transform from a fist into an open hand.

I saw the lotus in the garden.

To be present at every stage of the blossom's ascent upwards is rewarding, to see the little bud grow and mature into their own from adolescence to adulthood. When it grows out of the mud and beyond the muggy meniscus, it's as freeing as a delayed gasp of air when the tension of a bubble bursts. For once, I open one of the kitchen windows and barely stick my head out beyond the frame, seeing the once bulbous form bathe in the summer glow with striking yellow, pink, and purple plumage. It was the fragrance and brilliance of a sunrise. The petals lay still in a theatrical shape like someone expressively crooning their limbs in cadence to a cathartic yawn after a deep dream, but also extending their hands behind their head as a cushion to indulge in their pleasant awake for a few minutes longer.

It's beautiful to see a full bloom in the garden.

As I enveloped my Grandmother in a hunched-over hug, I raise my eyes upward and steal glances through the kitchen windows; long spiraling streaks are thinly visible from being wiped with a cloth. I squint for better focus and my eyelashes clutch onto bright flecks of white dancing on the pond's membrane, like the swift dashes of a dragonfly. Spring has defrosted and this is my last day watching the lotus in the garden. Dragging my suitcase through the uneven pathway outside, I sit on a brittle wooden chair and press my spine into the horizontal planes of the wood. Floating on top of a luxurious bed of leaves, the lotus flower is fully open and postures to summer's direction; it would be a shame to watch a small bud blossom so beautifully to then leave the pond for my own in the city - but today was that day. Spring has defrosted and today was my last day. The blossom's petals sprawl outwards and up to the sun, begging for hot and sweet nectar in the sun and drinking up the pond with refreshing sips. Could the blossoms be alerting me to their final hours of bloom? Why must I leave before the seed pods have dried and a new lotus is birthed? Soon there will be no lotus in the garden, but I left as a more open bud than when I arrived.


Editor(s): Joyce P.

Photo Credits: Unsplash


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