Monday, July 9

queen of the night

My parents have had a plant forever. I remember it when I was little, in their backyard on Catherine Street. It hung off the wall and it never did anything very interesting. It barely grew. It reminded me of an antler.

The plant was very hardy however, and when they moved the plant moved with them. It sat in their greenhouse and continued to do nothing, until I was in high school. One night my mother called me in and showed me a single flower on the plant. My father had his photography lamps out and was taking pictures. They explained that this plant, which I had never paid much attention to, was a Nightblooming Cereus, a type of cactus from the Southwest. It blooms once a year and at night, but ours had never bloomed before. It was very exciting.
Since then, our Nightblooming Cereus has bloomed more often. Perhaps it likes living in the greenhouse. I was down there this weekend and noticed five buds on the plant. (The blue tint is from a tarp that covers the skylights.) When I went to bed I checked back and saw that four of them had opened. The greenhouse smelled fragrant, sweet. I was the only one there to witness these blossoms this year. On Sunday, the morning after, the buds were once again closed but drooped towards the floor.

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