Unbeknownst to me, my friend Jack planted trillium last spring from Cottage Lake Gardens in Washington State, and our local Telly’s Greenhouse in Troy.
With tender care, Jack planted the seedlings under a black walnut tree, sheltered between his garden shed and the Clinton River Trail. A hopeful patron to natural beauty and the eye of its beholder, this April, Jack began scouting to spy the pleasure of his investment.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Jack, Sunday, April 25, on a saunter of my country roads, the first trillium blossom surprised me in the timber along Stoney Creek. The three, white petals usually appear around Mother’s Day.
I learned this fact upon my family’s introduction to Addison Township in spring, 1989. Back then, this native species of the family Melanthiaceae blanketed the forest floors in our little patch of the world.
I also discovered red blooms in the windrows of our serpentine road, an old cow path. Pioneers of the area knew the red trillium as Wake Robin, analogous to our State bird.
Sadly, each spring as subdivisions arise around us, the deer population grows and the trillium diminish. And I’ve yet to find the lone red flower at the foot of a bank west of us.
On schedule, Jack sent an email that same evening of April 25, addressed to our writer’s group named Leaps. Mind, Jack’s the veteran cowhand who casts his lasso every Sunday to gather our submissions for critique.
“Faith,” he wrote with a photo attached. “That’s what you practice when you put things in the ground. Almost one year ago I planted five trilliums. Here is the first evidence that there is life below the leaf mold. Product of the same faith that produces when you plant on a page. Who’ll be sowin’ seed tomorrow?”
“This is remarkable,” I replied. “I saw my first blooming trillium a few hours ago.”
Thus commenced Jack’s email reports.
May 1: “I should tell you we have foliage of two more trillium.”
May 2: “The trilliums increase. We have three to celebrate now, with hope for more.”
May 3: “Hope you’re all enjoying the rain. The trillium are.”
May 6: Jack phoned. “Iris Lee, four trillium are up!”
In the midst of our enthusiasm, Jack paused. “I think I planted six seedlings.”
Yes, dear Reader, this is serious. You see, Jack’s a retired driver of eighteen-wheelers, musician, storyteller, and poet who’s learned the succession and significance of such delicate, enduring, and serene matters of the human experience.
While we rejoiced, I said, “Do you remember my favorite book about the history and spirit of storytelling?”
“It’s on my desk before me.”
“I know there’s several passages that apply to what we’re experiencing now. I’ll email them later.”
In Jack’s call for submissions at the conclusion of Mother’s Day, he emailed, “According to Ruth Sawyer in The Way of the Storyteller: ‘During these early racial beginnings of storytelling, story was not distinct from poetry.’”
Please know, our stories of faith, hope, and love today are not distinct from poetry.
Contact Iris at email@example.com.