Sunday, August 16, 2009

African Violet

A few years back I bought this African Violet for my mother. Of course she can grow anything and manages to make everything bloom as often as possible. This particular violet is on a small three-legged stool in my bedroom, hiding behind a thin white curtain at the south window.
I can wake during nights with a full moon and see its hazy flowers glowing there in the dark.

And again the plant blooms. Mom mentioned to me a few weeks ago that it was getting ready. She notices the small changes that presage a bud. Soon enough, I too see that it's going to flower. She waters the plant on some particular schedule by carrying a small cup of water from the bathroom sink.
The plant has it good.

A close-up of a single bloom shows the beautiful details of what seems to be a simple flower. I love how the petals seems to be made of tiny transparent balloons, each filled with moisture. A finger press would come back wet.

My first admiration of the African Violet was of a particularly huge specimen - or so I remember it to be - in my Aunt Belle's dining room. Placed by a north-facing window, I remember the plant in a terra cotta crock and how huge and soft the leaves. Upon visiting my aunt as a baby, I'd always want to see the African Violet. It was sitting atop a humidor that my uncle used for pipe tobacco. He died in 1947 and I did not come along until 1949 but I remember opening the door of the humidor and smelling the sweet scent of tobacco, lingering years after he had gone.

So there they were: the humidor and the African Violet. Inseparable in my mind.

The past is recalled in visions and reminders and scents.