When my Mom, who was called Babe, lived in a senior community in Houston, and I was in Southern California, every spring I sent her tulips. Armloads of yellow tulips. Because they are so cheerful, like bursts of sunshine.
One morning I’m placing my phone order again with the person in the flower department at Central Market, a grocery close to where Babe lived. “We love the tulips so much,” I sighed, “but it’s such a shame they don’t last very long.”
Clearly exasperated with the customer on the phone (me), the clerk said, “My husband and I love weimaraners. They don’t live very long, either But we love them while they’re with us. Just enjoy the beauty of the tulips while you have them.”
In a recent story in the New York Times, Susan Orlean, the novelist, cradling a bouquet of tightly packed yellow French tulips, said, “For me, cut flowers convey an urgent need for beauty that will be gone in a day or two. It’s not permanent. It’s about experiencing something intensely for a really short period of time."
Babe and I and the yellow tulips would agree. This is my second spring without Babe, and I would give anything if I could send her yet one more bunch of intensely beautiful, if short-lived, yellow tulips.