Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Bleeding Heart

I know a bleeding-heart plant that has thrived for sixty years if not more, and has never missed a spring without rising and spreading itself into a glossy bush, with many small red hearts dangling. Don't you think that deserves a little thought? The woman who planted it has been gone for a long time, and everyone who saw it in that time has also died or moved away and so, like so many stories, this one can't get finished properly. Most things that are important, have you noticed, lack a certain neatness. More delicious, anyway, is to remember my grandmother's pleasure when the dissolve of winter was over and the green knobs appeared and began to rise, and to create their many hearts. One would say she was a simple woman, made happy by simple things. I think this was true. And more than once, in my long life, I have wished to be her.

Once upon a time there were a humanoid people whose heart's cycled with the seasons. In the winter, their hearts shrunk to the size of a raison. The cold snows echoed their cool souls and empty faces. Come the spring their hearts began to grow and by summer would be so big that you could see them beating through their skin, emitting a pink glow around their chests. All summer long they would forget their work and their worries, and spend their days laughing in the rivers and ponds, embraced by life, love, and one another. Their favorite past time was to press their chests against one another and see how long their hearts could beat in perfect synchronization. Come fall they held on to each other's hands as if it was the last time ever. And of course it would be, at least until the following spring. Why do I wish I were they?

How does your heart wax and wane?


  1. Wow, what a life that would be.

    My heart is big with grief today, losing a dear blog friend. Your bleeding hearts are so fitting.

  2. Dear Ruth,

    What happened? And how are you today?

    Hope in healing,


  3. My friend, Barry Fraser, had esophageal cancer since last March. He fought hard, he lived honestly, and hundreds of us who followed his blog are weeping. There is such grief, and such beauty in the grief, because he was such a man, and a friend to many. I, and many others, posted farewells to him this week.