Beautiful Toilet Paper

It is funny how my mind peers through the filter of my assumptions. Like that toilet paper strewn about on an undeveloped parcel of land near my home. You would think people would be more respectful of this soon-to-be-developed area. Perhaps it is already seen as a lost cause rather than nature’s last gasp before being paved over.

I notice the din of judgement in my mind as I reach down to pick up the trash and throw it into a bag I carry for that purpose. Then my vision clears and I see the toilet paper miraculously transform into patches of sand lilies (Leucocrinum montanum).

This is one of my favorite flowers and I still refer to it as blooming toilet paper. I cannot seem to let go of the scatalogical humor even though the bloom is sweetly fragrant. Every spring I seek out the low-growing flower as it emerges from dry sandy soil. The plant is unique in that it is the only species in the genus Leucocrinum. Although usually considered a lily, there is much argument over where it truly belongs in the botanical world.

Sand lilies are best observed on hands and knees or, better yet, contemplated by sitting cross legged on the ground. Green spears of foliage radiate outward from brilliant white star-shaped blossoms—a mandala of concentric arrows pointing in every direction, wordlessly describing the surrounding space. Subtle fragrance swirls inside an arid breeze, bathing nasal receptors with aromatic ambrosia. Small pollen encrusted stamen, only visible up close, invite the eyes to feast on vibrant yellow. All these elements conspire to imprison my senses, bestowing the gift of refined attention.

I wonder how many folks take the time to experience the essence of a sand lily. Maybe they just pass by, disgusted at all the toilet paper strewn about.

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