The flowers in the picture are not roses of which Mary Oliver sings, but the blossoms of what I call my "Pentecost cactus." Three or four years ago, a week before Pentecost, I bought it from a sidewalk vendor in Oakland. It was in full bloom, and I watched the vendor's father strategically place it in the sun in front of her cart. It shone like a beacon, and I crossed the street to buy it. It blooms every year around this time, and because the flowers last for a couple of weeks, it has always managed to be in bloom on or close to Pentecost Sunday. The rest of the year it looks kind of scraggly, and every year, I think it will bloom no more. I am sure it is root bound, and this year, after it finishes its blooming, I will re-pot it. We both have had enough of this living in doubt.
When the Roses Speak, I Pay Attention
"As long as we are able to
be extravagant we will be
hugely and damply
extravagant. Then we will drop
foil by foil to the ground. This
is our unalterable task, and we do it
And they went on. "Listen,
the heart-shackles are not, as you think,
death, illness, pain,
unrequited hope, not loneliness, but
lassitude, rue, vainglory, fear, anxiety,
Their fragrance all the while rising
from their blind bodies, making me
spin with joy.