The Thing About Tulips
February 19, 2017, 1:03 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Here’s the thing about tulips–

When you first get them, they’re all closed up, two little lips, set firmly in a line across a face. You can’t tell how many there are, even. That is, until you start trimming the stems and arranging them in the vase. What you thought may have been a dozen turns into two dozen and then you have thirty tulips sitting in your vase. It’s hard to arrange them because as you take them out of their wrapping, they arch forward–or I guess backward, depending on where you’re standing. They droop in an elegant way, though. You can’t be too mad about it.

You arrange your thirty bowing tulips, fill the vase up with luke-warm water and stand back and smile. Because that’s the thing with tulips: they make you smile. They are bright colors, they have long stems like the long neck of a lady you can’t help looking at.

(Has anyone seen Under the Tuscan Sun? The English woman who rubs baby ducks on her face and eats all of the gelato? It’s that woman. That’s the woman you can’t stop looking at with the long, arched neck of a tulip.)

You walk away from them, eventually. Maybe you go to bed. But that’s the thing about tulips: when you wake up they will look changed; not in a drastic or dramatic way. But they will be a little more open, a little more upright. Not so open that you can see their centers but enough to tell you that you have done something right–given the right kind of water, arranged them correctly, smiled at them enough. You will gently rearrange them in their new state, making sure the yellow ones –your favorite– are prominently showcased in front of the dark and light pink ballerinas sharing their space.

By the end of the day, the water is all but drained. That’s the thing about tulips: they are very thirsty. They aren’t like your common Walmart bouquet where you can trim those stems as much as you want but those cheap artificially colored daisies are not going to drink that water and they are going to die as soon as they would have if you had not even bothered with water. Tulips appreciate the time, the effort. They pay it back with their beauty that will still make you smile even on the second, third, eighth day.

Soon after, they will open completely and you will see the secret they have been keeping so tightly locked inside of them. The thing with tulips is: they all look different in their centers. Dark pinks have dark purple circles, the light pinks have white, and the yellow still remains a mystery…they have remained shut still. Some people are like that, though. Some are open and want to show you all of them and some still need some time, a bit more water, a bit more smiling.

Some day, a shockingly long time after the other colors had opened, the yellows finally give it up. Isn’t that the thing with tulips? They know their own beauty and some are stubborn about it purely for the dramatics of waiting. But oh, when the yellow ones open it will feel like spring has finally, finally arrived. Their little black circles peer up at you like a darkness we all hide deep inside, shut in tight. But it’s okay, yellow tulips. We get it. It takes time and we are just so happy to be with you.

Eventually though, they will start to droop again and no amount of water can make them perk back up; petals start to fall and you sense the end of a relationship that you didn’t even know you were having with each individual bloom. You will pull out the ones who have only a few sparse petals left, throw them in the garbage bin; put them out of their misery. The bouquet grows smaller and smaller and you should probably just dump the whole thing but you can’t bring yourself to do it. Those yellow ones are still alive. They are still there and they worked so hard to open for you– why would you cut them off before their time?

That’s the thing about tulips: they feel a lot like the inside of your mind.


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