In Arkansas people complain about surprise lilies. They say, Oh, get those things out of here! and make little moues with their mouths. They pass long stretches of surprise lilies and day lilies on the roadway and wonder out loud why the highway department hasn’t done something about them.
I never commented on this attitude in the five years that I lived in Arkansas. But when I moved back to Kansas City, I found myself delighted with a whole long yard of them. I waited for them to bloom; I cut stalks and put them in tall vases. Then their bed gave way to construction — first a wheelchair ramp, later the deck. I have so few left and they find themselves choked by the heartier iris, the bulbs which came from North Carolina and thrive in our cool springs.
I forget about the surprise lilies from year to year, and thus I am beyond surprised when the return; I am downright astonished. This year, they asserted themselves above the ground towards the end of my recent trip to California. I found them when I left home to go to the office on Sunday. I stood for several minutes gazing at them in wonder. What a gift! How can anyone consider them a nuisance? But then, I myself like dandelion wine, and I still cannot distinguish good grass from rampant weeds.
I am beginning to accept my Plebeian view of yard growth. Perhaps my gypsy soul relates to the wildness of untamed vegetation.