The agapanthus at the edge of death
Updated: Aug 8, 2022
The summer garden is bursting with blooming agapanthus (African Blue Lilies), with their umbels of showy lilac and blue and purple flowers. They look like umbrellas creating little sunshades in the merciless sun.
The name agapanthus is derived from the Greek word agape, which means love – a certain kind of love, like a mother's unconditional love for a child, never lacking pureness and depth. The agapanthus is the flower of love, echoing our internal striving to attain generosity of spirit and the ability to appreciate beauty. For the simple beauty of the flower, it is also often associated in stories, folklore and rituals with retirement, the time when the body moves towards the end of its finite existence – the wreath of agapanthus atop a coffin, like a love letter to the void beyond being.
I have died multiple times in life. My day is looming near as I grow old and infirm, my legs buckling and weak. I watch the spool of my painful and beautiful life from the reel of memory, shuddering at times with inexplicable awe and terror that this is all.
The stars slowly burn out their energy and leave impersonal, sombre darkness of sheer spacetime. Likewise, my body is slouching towards dissolution. I often wonder about the agapanthus that bizarrely begins blossoming at death's edge. And then I remember a poster in a garden with the words, “ Beware of the agapanthus, they never cry,” and broke into a peal of rumbling symphonic belly laughter that boomed through universes.
at the edge of death -
begins to blossom
it is a love letter
to the void beyond being
writing beauty, meaning