Monday, April 9, 2012

One Answer

This past weekend, Gandalf, Joie, and Kit (uncle, aunt, and cousin) came to town and stayed with aunt Ziba. Saturday included a trip to a botanical garden. The highlight, for me, was the Conservatory. Joie and I tried, in the semi-tropical wing, to focus on specific points–an orchid petal with wavy red lines, a splash of yellow on the wall.

Kit stared up at the hanging planter with the label: Begonia Something. She asked, “What are begonias?” We couldn’t really see what was in the planter. “I don’t know,” I said, “Some flower.” She said she’s heard so many references to them.

Later, Kit, and I sat in the central Palm House on the concrete ring around the fountain. I laid down, and my dad and Kit were quick to follow. We stared at flowers piling high toward the glass dome ceiling. Kit said, “Those are Begonias!” There was a plate on a hanging planter, and this time the contents were visible. We acted as if this answer was the end and all, the answer to one of humankind’s great questions: “What are begonias?”

Gandalf took pictures of us laughing and asked if we knew hyacinth and hibiscus. I know them from Pac Sun. He told us Carl Sandberg described poetry as “a synthesis of hibiscus and biscuits.” In a moment of frivolous laughter, I yelled, “Flowers and food!” Gandalf offered, “And the joining together of things that don’t normally go together.”

“My beard grew down to the floor and out through the doors
Of your eyes, begonia skies like a sleepyhead, sleepyhead.”


  1. Love this; great to revisit our adventure among the orchids and begonias! Btw, it was Carl Sandberg who wrote "poetry is the achievement of the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits"
    Uncle Gandolf

    1. Thanks, Uncle Gandalf! I'm changing it right now!