When I rounded the bend in the cul-de-sac in front of my house, I stopped dead in my tracks to stare at the most beautiful of blooms, an iris, planted in our community garden by my neighbor, a variety in Connecticut that always produces its clusters of flowers in early June, hearty and elegant with the graceful curves and colorations of its petals.
But this was November, nearly five full months past its days for blooming.
Under the petals, two fully developed buds were in waiting with a third further down the stem. The shock for someone like me who has been observing the blossoming of these flowers since I was a child—though never in November—felt like a blow, its presence at this time of year more alarming than welcome, more a statement about the warming of the planet than a gift from nature, stunning as it was.
Nevertheless as a 21st century senior, I took out my cell and snapped pictures of this anomaly, from all sides, attempting to include the yellowing of the maple and the dogwood in the background. The rock sitting behind the bloom in the photo I’ve posted, reminds me of a tombstone, hinting at the vulnerability of all that is organic and pulsing with life, giving and taking from the atmosphere that surrounds our planet, the cover that makes our beautiful earth the only one of its kind in our known universe.
I’ve asked myself daily how did it happen that I’d been part of a generation that knowingly supported a way of life that robs the planet of its resources, never to be replenished, a well-documented condition in the USA since the 1960s? My complicity carried as much weight as if I ordered the siphoning of oil out of the ground myself during my fifty-plus adult years.
There is no setting the clock back but there is a way forward–making certain that our country honors and supports its pledges to the November 2015 Climate Conference in Paris, our “last best hope to avert the devastating effects” of our warming planet. On this 1st anniversary of the agreement that’s the message I take from the November iris, the second bud already in bloom as I write. Flowers communicate the only way they can–by doing what they do best.