Each Christmas a dear friend gives me an Amaryllis in bloom. The flower dies in six weeks or so, but the long green leaves decorate my windowsill until the fall. Then, in an act of great faith, I cut off all the leaves, shake the bulb out of its nest of dirt, and throw it into the fridge. It waits there for me, for at least a month, until I put it back where I found it. Then I wait for another eight weeks, hoping that the magic will still work. If I’m lucky, I get the photo above. If I’m very lucky, I get better: more flowers, more bulbs.
It’s a lot of waiting and lot of hoping. It’s taking drastic steps, damaging something that I know is working because I believe I can get better. I value the final flower enough to risk killing the plant. I don’t even pretend to know how bulbs form in the wild, how they work when there is no refrigerator. I take it on faith that the people who guide me know what they’re doing.
I’m editing now – somewhere between my second and fifth formal round of edits, depending on how you count. My time was not my own this fall, and so my Amaryllis bloomed late, in January instead of December. They sit on the window by my desk, and reassure me that my edits, which require just as much faith, will turn out. I hope they’re right.