The Tulip

squirrel, tulips, Louisa May AlcottHelen can’t identify the strange sonorous sounds coming from outside. Usually in her little corner of the world, the loudest noise early in the morning is the red squirrels arguing with each other as they sit on branches, trees apart.

But this sound is unfamiliar, not the high-pitched shrill squirrel bickering she’s used to. Helen runs out the front door, the spring rain falling on her as she instinctively looks upward. A strange looking plane is overhead. Old-fashioned propellers make a swishing sound, yet the beautiful light blue body is  sleek.  Helen notices the glint of sun on the front, which of course isn’t possible because it’s raining. But no – there, on the left horizon, blue sky emerges, along with an impossibly bright rainbow. rainbow

The plane is close enough that she sees a door open from the belly of the plane. A belly door? Whatever, something soft and white flows out of this opening – a lot of somethings.  A few float down toward her, and the flying object moves on south, toward the part of town that is more congested with neighborhoods and storefronts.

By now, the sun is shining brightly as if rain never existed, as if squirrels never bicker and as if life is easy and enjoyable. With a sigh, Helen turns back toward her tiny cabin in the woods.

Her friends call her Henrietta T (a take-off of Henry David Thoreau) because of her desire to live alone in the woods, to live a simple life, to not depend on anyone, and to earn a meager existence from her writing.

Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

She thinks of herself more as Louisa May Alcott of Little Women fame than Henry. Like Louisa, Helen chooses to be single and to live by her words. That said, she sometimes yearns for a soul mate, but has decided that none exists.

One of the leaflets, for that’s what seems to have floated down like white handkerchiefs, has fallen into her row of pink tulips that she planted last fall. She plants her feet firmly in front of her, dismayed at this act of litter.

“Who, now, is supposed to pick up all of this trash? Henrietta T, of course,” she mutters, charging toward the paper, grabbing it with a ferocity that surprises her. Can’t she just be left alone? Can’t the world just leave her alone?

But she might as well see what the leaflet is selling. A new restaurant opening? A coupon for a six-pack of beer? Her skepticism shrouds her like a shadow. Helen opens the wrinkled soft paper and reads:

“Be worthy love, and love will come.” tulips, red tulips, Louisa May Alcott, Longwood Garden

Helen falls to her knees, allowing the tears to roll down her face like a salvation. Alcott’s quote opens her like the tulips in her garden, whose pedals joyfully greet the sun.

Perhaps she should try to be more like a tulip, and less like a bickering squirrel.

 

 

99 thoughts on “The Tulip

  1. I loved the story, Pam. I kept thinking about Earth Day as I read about Henrietta T. in the woods, in her own small cabin, surrounded by trees and flowers and rain and rainbows. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great story!!! I love the ending, but I was held spellbound to the finish…wondering about these messengers. I love the way you said her heart should open more like a tulip. Tulips are such beautiful flowers…even when they wilt, they are lovely still.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your words always lift me up, Balroop. 🙏 So the next question is – what makes love worthy, or what makes us worthy of love? Hmmm, one idea is kindness, empathy, and compassion to all. 💜

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    • I would be like Helen and very annoyed at the litter from the pamphlets. As the writer of this story I was surprised to find out that they had a strong message for all of us. Thanks of course to Louisa May Alcott. ❤️

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  3. I read that Louise May Alcott didn’t want to write LIttle Women but was forced into it by her publisher because her more radical ideas about a book wouldn’t see. I enjoyed this post, Pam, and remembering this bit of trivial information.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Robbie. Not sure where the story came from in my head but as soon as I “saw” the pamphlets coming out of the plane I thought of Alcott and Thoreau. Weird! Yes Louisa May liked her stories of fantasy and danger but the publisher wanted her to write about something she knew. Her family. Worked out well! 😊

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  4. Thanks for sending missives from over the rainbow today. (Better than a fortune cookie cliche with tiny truths.}

    Not long ago, PBS did a special on Alcott’s life. This from her early writings: “My bird fluttered on the threshold of its cage, but Love lured it back, for its gentle mission was not yet fulfilled.” Not sure what this quote actually means, but obviously this bird will never bother with a bickering squirrel. Maybe it’s a trilling bird, thrilled at the tulip she beholds.

    May this be a good day with a fabulous weekend ahead, Pam!

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    • Interesting quote. I guess good quotes make us think and wonder about the meaning. 🤓I have visited the “Orchard House” – where Louisa May lived with her family and wrote her books – many times. She inspires me! 🌷

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  5. Lovely, Pam. Yes, we should try to show our best side (tulips) instead of our worst (bickering squirrels). At first, I thought you were going for humor. It struck me funny if someone would actually go to all that trouble for a coupon for a six-pack of beer. As if she were expecting a note from her Prince Charming.

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  6. What a wonderful story with a proper message. I’m with Merril. I could easily see this as the opening of a movie where it goes back to tell us how she ended up there and where she goes (or not) from there!
    More, please 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This story made me think of an Emily Dickinson poem:
    “A word is dead, when it is said
    Some say –
    I say it just begins to live
    That day.”
    Thanks to somebody in that strange little blue plane, Louisa May Alcott’s word lives on. 🌷

    Liked by 2 people

  8. A lovely spring story, Pam. I guess there is hope for love for Helen, not quite the recluse she believes herself to be. And though those bickering squirrels can be quite entertaining, I wouldn’t want to be one. Loved this. 😀

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    • Helen seems to have touched a chord with a lot of readers. I think there’s a lot of her in us, the introverted ones, who go between enjoying our alone time, and yet needing the company of others — or at least one special other. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Pam, you will have us all looking up into the sky for a mysterious plane delivering a flurry of heartfelt notes of wisdom! 😀 I’m deeply intrigued by Helen and for me, there is SO much more I want to know about her, the life she led earlier, what led her to her reclusive existence and what effect the note will have upon her future! As always a joy to read and you leave me wanting much more! Hope you’re having a lovely week, my dear friend! hugs xx ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You always manage to hit a nerve with your incredible stories. I loved and felt this one. It’s interesting what makes a person shut themselves off from any chance at love and happiness. I read this yesterday, wandered off to do a bit of research on something I read here and got lost. Second reading today and I love it even more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marlene, you know just the right words to say to a writer. THANK you. I love this character, Helen, and I’m going to keep her in my repertoire and perhaps focus on her more in future stories. So interesting to me how many of my readers here related to Helen. I think there’s a bit of her in each of us. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  11. The day very joyful when the squirrels starting the new day at every morning. I don’t see red squirrel at here my place but there are gray squirrels. They are really fun. I feel so good everytime I saw them.

    Liked by 1 person

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