Tulips Thieves

There are always harbingers that spring is here. The trees start blooming, flowers start coming up and the insects have returned. For me, the two tulips in the backyard have always been the surest sign that spring is here to stay for a while. We have one yellow and one red. They are gorgeous and every year they bring me great joy and I take pictures of them.

I believe that in life the little joys are often the purest sources of happiness. Looking out of the window and seeing those tulips, or my rosebushes makes me smile. Knowing that every year those tulips are going to sprout in the backyard is comforting on some very deep level. Tiny joys keep us going.

As I was going outside to take pictures of the tulips, I noticed that while the leaves and stem were there, the flowers were gone. I was hoping that maybe I was looking at them from the wrong angle (my brain handles disappointment with strong denial as a first response), but once I got close enough, it looked very much like someone had taken scissors and clipped my joyful tulips.

I am not a big flower cutter. I believe that flowers and plant life have feelings and I try not to do things to kill or upset the plant life. This is such a strong belief that when I gave a friend an aloe plant and saw that it was dying in her home after 2 months of no sun, I asked for and received the aloe plant back. I take my plant life pretty seriously, and unless I need flowers to dry for herbs, I try really hard not to pick flowers – I just take a camera. When I do cut flowers or herbs for use, I always make sure to do so with respect and reverence, as well as appreciation.

The tulips would have lived much longer in my backyard than they would in a vase, and while I enjoy receiving flowers as gifts, I am always sad when they wither and die. The passage of time can often be one of the sadder life experiences and cut flowers just seem to show the withering time deals to all of us.

Therefore, when I discovered that my tulips were cut, not by me, out of my own backyard, I was upset. Probably slightly more upset than I really should have been, but I just could not believe or accept that someone would go into my backyard and cut these flowers that bring me such joy and happiness. My thought was that it was probably a kid, but how many kids carry around scissors to cut flowers with?

In times like these, technology often comes to my aid. I bemoaned on Facebook the evil of the world, the wickedness of tulip thieves, and let the world know of my heartbreak. After all, while they come up every year, tulips are fleeting. They stay for such a short period of time and that time was cut even shorter.

As in most situations in my life, my friends came to my rescue. People were upset and outraged on my behalf, another friend of mine from the Murphysboro area said she actually caught kids stealing her tulips from the front of her yard, which left me with tons of questions. Who are these marauding gangs of tulip thieving children? Where are their parents? What parent receives a bouquet of tulips and does not tell their children that they aren’t to pick flowers from another person’s yard?

Then one of my friends told me to search YouTube for the video of the rabbit opening a letter. Apparently, rabbits are really good at chewing straight lines. So good in fact, that some of the pictures online of tulips stolen by rabbits looked eerily familiar.

I think that was when I remembered that my backyard doesn’t really belong to me. It belongs to the birds and the animals (who may eat tulips) and the insects and the rest of nature. The flowers I thought had been so callously stolen from me never belonged to me – they were a spring rabbit delicacy. Knowing that the incredibly cute bunny in the backyard – who could very well be the Easter Bunny – was the likely culprit helped me look at the situation in a much more favorable light. Instead of thieves, it was just bunnies.

This was one of those situations where what initially caused me great distress has actually brought me joy. I like bunnies and while I would prefer they leave my tulips alone, at least I know it wasn’t thoughtlessness it was just bunny-ness.

In addition, I am now going to be planting some flowers. Those tulips came with the house and while I immediately wanted to plant more, my husband eventually plans to raise the level of the backyard and would prefer I not plant anything he will inevitably kill. However, due to my tulip grief, my wonderful husband, who really tries his best to make me happy, is going to help me transplant some daffodils from his mother’s daffodil field (seriously, she has a huge field of them – it is simply amazing) to some of our planters. He is also planning to help me plant more tulip bulbs in the planters, as well. After all, we need to help feed growing bunnies.


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