Wednesday, May 14, 2014

One Red Tulip—Gone

Every few years David Mark, Maynard historian, plants hundreds of tulip bulbs at the intersections of Maple and Brooks Streets. He never plants the same way twice; is always changing up the colors, and every year, when the buds come up, I anxiously await the show.

This year the tulips closest to Summer Street came up as a field of yellow, with one exception. Emerging from the center of the whole patch was one red tulip. My five-year-old daughter and I got to have a nice conversation about it. It tied nicely into a sermon we had a chance to hear at a local Unitarian Universalist church. In the sermon, the minister was talking about making room for those who don't fit in common moulds. It was a beautiful sermon, and I found it to be very moving. So there we were, looking at the red tulip and talking about how it belonged there even though it was a different color.

Sadly, the red tulip went missing. David and I were talking about it, and he seems to think that someone just couldn't see it as anything other than a mistake in the planting—an affront to the garden's beauty. I'd prefer to think that someone just loved that red tulip so much that they needed to take it home with them, though I'm probably kidding myself. Whatever the case, they didn't know that the tulip was supposed to be there.

The whole planting of the tulips started as a kind of memorial to David's son, Daniel, who died several years ago. Daniel was always a great help to those of us from the Maynard Community Gardeners who gardened at Maplebrook Park. He would happily trim tree branches with his dad, and haul heavy garden waste away, never letting his disabilities keep him from helping us. When I see those tulips come up every spring, I am always happily reminded of him.

So next year when it's tulip time again, if you get a chance to see the flower beds, take a look and see if you can't spot something special there.

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