I love tulips, though I cannot for sure explain why. I think my affinity for them developed gradually. Some years ago while I was still a student, I would walk to my university to attend lectures. There was a small walled garden-like area just before I reached my destination. Depending on the season of the year, it was either filled with flowers or only with trees. In Autumn the colours of the leaves were gloriously vibrant, then they fell and left the trees bare. I walked passed it almost every day, until sometime early each year, tulips would pop-up among the trees. It was always a surprise, a welcome, recognition, almost like greeting an old friend. It left me with a sense of exuberance and gratitude. I loved walking near that little walled area at the time of tulips. With their presence tulips declared Spring is coming, ‘see, that’s why we are here’.
Sometimes after this experience first occurred, I was reading Thomas Merton. I came across his saying, “Tulips are not important, they are essential”. I cannot find the right words to convince you of the truthfulness of this statement, but I don’t need to. Its simple sentiment sums up my admiration for this flower.
And so when I was walking in town the other day and I saw tulips for the first time this year, without hesitating I got myself a bookey. My old friend is back, earlier than I would expect, and I know, Spring is near.
© Iva Beranek (Dublin, 22nd January 2016)
Photos by © Iva Beranek