On Crocuses and Life
I don’t have much of a life, I guess. I’ve been waiting all winter to see some form of life spring forth from the cold, almost-still-frozen earth. Normally, the first things to spring forth are the crocuses, and most years these hearty little flowers start poking their heads up through the hard, brittle soil near the end of February.
This year we’ve had an very long, cold, snowy winter. But the crocuses were not deterred by winter’s draconian hand. No they were not. In fact, they shot their little heads up out of the ground on February 21st this year. They are defiant little things; they laugh in the face of winter’s cold harsh breath.
Spring hath not yet sprung, for the crocuses have not yet bloomed – but at least there is life in that dark frozen mud.
Many people think I’m crazy, and by the time I’m done, you probably will too; I cannot help what you or anyone else thinks, and what does it matter anyway? We are all in this thing together – I mean you are on the same short ride on this tiny globe spinning through space as I. Even when I’m sitting quietly in my broken-down easy chair, watching M*A*S*H reruns, I’m still traveling thousands of miles per hour – riding on this big round bus through the blackness of space. The Earth spinning around on its axis; the Earth is orbiting the sun, and the sun orbiting the center of the galaxy. And the galaxy is moving through the universe headed to only heaven knows where – and all the while I’m sitting in my chair watching TV and draining a cold bottle of Moosehead.
Which reminds me… I need a good book to read. One can only watch so many reruns of M*A*S*H. I’ll make a note: “Look for good book to read…” I’ll do that during the commercial.
All this motion…what’s it all about? When I think about things, it makes me think about other things. Every time I walk out my door and see the crocuses sprouting, it not only reminds me that winter’s finally losing its bitter grip. And seeing those tiny green crocuses rising out of the dead, cold ground, makes me think about life.
Why are there crocuses? What purpose do they serve? They bloom and die before the weather warms. They are only around for a few days. They come and go so quickly. What does this mean? What kind of evolutionary processes are at work here? Why does evolution produce so many mistakes? While crocuses are rather pretty little flowers, they seem to have no purpose. It seems to me that this applies to a lot of things that live a lot longer than crocuses – coconut palms come to mind. I really don’t like coconut. But even coconut palms provide shade and probably homes to various little insects, critters and parasites.
But crocuses? They bloom and die while it still too cold for even the nastiest of parasites to venture out. They feed nothing – there are no bugs or parasites in winter – they are too smart to burrow forth. Crocus provide a home to nothing. While they are beautiful, their beauty is evanescent. In fact, all beauty is transistory.
Why do we have crocuses? Maybe to make me think – and wonder.
I wonder about a lot of things. Like, for instance, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. I had occasion last weekend to see “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, and like the crocuses blooming in front of my house right now, it make me think.
In “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” we have a young lady who lives with seven male midgets in the woods. Now imagine someone discovering a young lady living with seven midgets, all men, in a forest near you. How long do you think that would be allowed to go on? Can you imagine CNN and Fox news covering the “breaking news” of the discovery of an isolated cottage, deep in the woods, where a young woman lives with seven men – all midgets?
And then you learn she’s hiding from a queen who talks to herself while looking in a mirror?
And then there are restroom doors which open inward. I’m not a builder or a contractor – I can barely use a hammer or a screwdriver – but it seems like it would be such an easy thing to make sure all rest room doors opened outward.
You have no idea what I’m talking about do you? You think I’m insane, don’t you? I told you that you would, remember?
It makes no sense to have public restroom doors open inward, and I’ll tell you why:
I’m in a restaurant and I have to go to the bathroom. So I get up and go into the restroom to take care of things. And being a conscientious type of guy, I always wash my hands when I am done – just like my granny taught me.
I just get done washing my hands — and I spend eight minutes drying them off with one of those “sanitary” hand-blowers. It’s been quite an ordeal, and my food’s getting cold. I am ready to leave and I see that the door opens inward. I hesitate to grab the handle on the door to pull it open because I just got done washing my hands.
I know that not everyone washes their hands after going to the bathroom and some are not very careful about their bathroom habits. Now, I stand at the door and think about how many dirty hands have touched and pulled open this door and how many germs are waiting to crawl all over me the second I touch it. And I’m betting there are some really nasty germs on there – because I know people.
There are no paper towels, just those awful hand blowers, so I am trapped in the restroom until I figure out how to pull that door open without putting my clean hands on it. There’s always toilet paper. But that means going back into a smelly dirty stall and possibly touching something even worse than that door handle. I need to get out of the restroom without getting germ-bombed.
I decide to use my shirttail and cover the door handle with it — so I don’t have to touch it with my clean hands. I briefly wonder if the germs will stick to my shirttail, but decide that I don’t eat with my shirttail or anything that the shirttail might touch — and so conclude that the shirttail method is my best option — though I briefly wonder if germs can crawl trough cloth. And I’m sure they can.
I open the door. My food has gotten cold.
Everything has a purpose; everything has a reason for being, even if it’s not immediately clear what that reason is. Ours is not the reason why…and all of that.
Today the blooming of a crocus made me think. Now I know the purpose of a crocus. And, you know what… crocuses are such beautiful muses.