Each year they came up, pushing through the hard-packed dirt among common weeds like dandelion and tender shoots of periwinkle and coral bells and bugleweed.
No one noticed the flowers. Even the squirrels ignored the bulbs, for the old maple that hung over the semi-wild space dropped so many maple keys that, come autumn, the little animals had no trouble growing fat on seeds. Why bother digging, they reasoned, for a few bulbous roots when food lay everywhere all around?
After a few years, the squirrels forgot about the tulips entirely. As for the villagers, for many generations they never noticed the white blooms. There were so many flowers blooming in bright, exotic colours in the spring - why go into a messy old garden for some dusty white tulips that only reminded them of snow-covered fields and the white ice of frozen cisterns that must be broken every morning for fresh water? If they did notice the tulips, they trembled as if cold and turned away.
On this year, after the especially bitter winter, the dependable tulips bloomed white once again, but with one difference, and this changed everything.
Exactly one half of one petal of one flower was streaked in bold, blood-red scarlet.****
So. The Nature Muse is busy here this morning. And though the above (and more) was dashed off by me (can I copy right the above? I hereby copy right the above beginning of my short story!! : )) as soon as I uploaded these images, a quick web search for "Snow White" images (not Disney inspired) led me to the art of Marianne Stokes (1855-1927).
What a homecoming.
It is so strange to stumble upon something entirely new and for it to feel so familiar that inside you a voice wells up and says, "Yes, I recognize this. I know this!"
When I saw this image I knew that the Muse was leading me on an especially fortuitous path this morning - not only did the combination of the red-streaked tulip and this woman's art spark a sweet and simple story that's one part Snow White and one part The Ugly Duckling, but the religious iconography ties into the more challenging, longer piece I'm currently...wrestling with/working on.
How beautiful this woman's paintings are!
How lush the reds. And the expressions on these women's faces. I could lose myself, which is always a good thing when creating.
But for now, best to keep writing and finish up the short story at least.
Thank you again, Marianne Stokes and Mother Nature!
**** copy right Kathleen Dore.