A California Poppy is standing outside my back door,
between the Japanese Maple and the rose bush.
She is the first of the Spring sisters to arrive.
Last year I watched her
carefully remove her green, conical bonnet.
At stages of the process she looked like a gnome
with her bonnet tilted at a rakish angle.
I had to sit in silent meditation
for several hours
as she completed this mystical mudra,
gently easing it off,
millimeter by millimeter,
...until she finally uncovered
her thick golden tresses.
It was like watching a beautiful woman
emerge from her shower
and unwind her long locks
which had been tightly wrapped
in a towel-turban.
Now she stands,
feet firmly planted in the moist soil,
but dancing, from the ankles up,
and swaying sensuously
when the morning breezes caress her body.
She is on sacred ground; and she knows it.
But unlike Moses at the burning bush,
she has no shoes to sacramentally shed,
instead she has reverently removed her head dress
and bowed to Father Sun.
Like all beings, she is seeking enlightenment.
Pollinating bees give her a full facial,
tapping out their acupressure treatments,
on her smiling countenance,
in order to release her inner energy
and further accentuate her beauty.
She kisses their feet in a gesture of Namasté,
and they wiggle at the tickle.
Father Sun will tell her when it’s bed time,
and then she will bind up her golden tresses;
carefully wrapping them about each other
as tight as a litter of cuddling kittens at nap time.
Daddy will give her a goodnight kiss and whisper,
“sleep tight my little princess.”
Nobody sleeps more tightly than a California Poppy.
Within a few days,
her tardy sisters will make their appearance
and soon the area will have piles of discarded bonnets,
like a school field after a graduation ceremony
littered with tossed, tasseled skullcaps.
Soon the ever-vigilant insects will discover them
and carry them off;
perhaps to be used as sleeping pods for their young
or as bins in which to store their food.
Like all incarnated beings,
my golden-haired California beauty will age.
One-by-one, she will drop her yellow petals,
and retreat into her etheric skeleton
to await next year’s spacesuit.
Now she will stand gaunt, yet still elegant,
in her naked form.
Her erstwhile lovers will also retire,
but they will hold her sweet memories
in their carefully sealed honeycombs,
expertly capturing the color of her petals.
Tír na nÓg
Fr. Seán ÓLaoire, PhD
2nd: Children's — All are welcome!
3rd: Extended Homily, Q&A