Even after living with a late winter amaryllis every year for the past while, I am still humbled by the flamboyant beauty of these glorious beings. Each year, my mornings are brightened by its presence and each year the day proceeds more easily with it presiding over the room - from stem to bud to blossom, it is truly a miracle.
And so perhaps it's not unusual that I am overcome by surprise as the flowers fade and wilt. It happens every year, no question, and every year the process is the same. Yet I am surprised.
I've noticed, though, that at some moment, when the petals have shrivelled and seed pods are emerging from the death that surrounds them, a transition happens. I'm not referring to how the plant marches along its path of decay, although that is what's happening and it's quite a process to observe. Rather I notice that I have let go of holding on to the beauty of blossoms and accepted that the time has come for a deeper, quieter beauty. Wrinkles, textures on leaves and stems, these overtake the joyous, brilliant colors.The shapes are more complex; the leaves seem more expressive, saying harder things.
So this becomes a time for me to appreciate what is there, the old and the dying. And a good thing to appreciate in an amaryllis - we are all fading.