Old Man in White

            All winter, an old man in white paces the garden, waiting through waxing and waning moons.  As nights shorten, he begins to disappear. 
            But the memory of him blooms throughout the garden.  Roots and seeds have been waiting to show their warmer whites.
            Galanthus is the first to spring from his footprints, then white crocus from where he bent to touch the earth.  White tulips might be his cold lips, where he pressed them to the ground.  Peonies lift themselves next to hills where ants have hidden from his clammy feet.  Iris flags where he will pace again next winter.
            Among  the vegetables, cilantro blooms into a profusion of lace that will soon exhale the   breath of coriander seeds.  The old man has paced the rows of strawberry, wild cucumber, sweet pea, arugula, green bean, basil, and jalapeno pepper.
            In early summer, Shasta daisies brighten the garden with egg yolk eyes.  The white lace of yarrow is intricate as snowflakes.
            Columbine flowers droop like the old man’s sleepy head.
            White daylilies and hosta say hello to bumblebees.  Gay feather lifts its bottle brush spikes stiff and straight as a cock’s comb.  Periwinkle winks the air.
            White phlox is a late summer blanket, from which an old man might rise when cold nights bid him pace.
            Fall toad lilies, white blooms like tongues, squat closer to the earth, with no time to rise higher before the season changes again.
            Autumn sedum, tinged with color, like a harvest moon, is sign of the old man’s imminent return.  Like harvest, everything in this garden will soon be tucked away, safe for another long winter.
            Everything will disappear but the old man, pacing, touching the earth, walking the winter rows.  Sky releases snow, a profusion white as the old man, white as the flowers that remember him in the brief blossoming of their summer.












Statue standing on head

Star of Bethlehem flower


Daisy flower


Return to Garden Images Section

Return to Garden Plots Map

[ WU Home ] [ Directory ] [ A-Z Index ] [ Sitemap ] [ Contact WU ] [ Statements & Disclosures ] [ Accessibility ] [ Search ]
© 2015 Washburn University, 1700 SW College Ave, Topeka, Kansas 66621 785.670.1010
Contact webmaster@washburn.edu with questions or comments.