The Water-lily

There were many, fine water-lilies on the lake, but the most splendid emerged like a king amongst his courtiers. Its petals shone like pearl-white silk, and they were held stiffly, as a proud colonel would display his dress uniform.

When not devoted to its own reflections, it would out-stare the sun whom it regarded as quite unreliable. And when the sun had gone, the water-lily would disdainfully close its petals, neatly encasing its golden stamen and pistil.

In spite of its overbearing starchiness, the water-lily was admired and respected by all the other water-lilies. They accepted without question that it was the most brilliant, the most eminent and high ranking of them all.

But one spring, while the water-lilies still slept, there came The Great Thaw, which changed everything.
There was so much water that the usually calm and hospitable lake overflowed with excitement. Soon the currents were so strong that many of the water-lilies were rudely pulled out of their beds and washed away.

When the waters finally settled, the largest water-lily found itself loosely embedded in a miserable pond. Even the surrounding nettles looked down and made stinging remarks.

When it finally managed to bloom in the summer, it felt so ashamed! Never had its petals drooped so before, and never had they shown such ugly, brown stains!

The poor water-lily spent a drab month in the little pond. Yet in its lonely state it had time to reflect  more deeply than it had ever done before. It began to accept the shadows that it had always ignored.

It rooted itself more firmly, and gradually the little pond seemed less murky and unpleasant.

Towards the end of that summer, things began to look up a little. Even the nettles seemed less hostile.

The water-lily slept through most of the autumn, winter and early spring. As it slept it had a dream, as water-lilies sometimes do.
It dreamt that it was summer and time to bloom again. But when it opened its petals, they fell off and floated away leaving it completely naked. All the other water-lilies waved their handsome heads as if with laughter.

The following summer, when the water-lily's bud had risen to the pond's surface, it began to open its new petals with timid apprehension.
The pond had become larger and deeper. There were other plants in flower on the banks. Damsel-flies showed off their fine colour and lace. Birds darted in and out of the elegant reeds, and butterflies basked in the sun.

It was truly a beautiful sight, crowned by the perfect bloom of the water-lily.

The damsel-flies paid homage. The tall reeds bowed reverently in the breeze, and the water-lily, in full bloom, (with its new leaves, of course) was more worthy of such honours than it had ever been.

From the Rainbow Series

Text and images © Mirino (PW) November, 2010

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