One of the surest signs of fall in the South is the appearance of the spider lilies. I’m not sure when I first became aware of their existence, when I first noticed them and began to wonder about them. Every year, I think I’m going to remember to look for them when late September-early October rolls around, but I am always surprised when I see the first one appear at some random place in the yard.
To me, where the spider lilies appear is completely random, and they never seem to come back in the same places year after year. Last year, there were red spindly lilies that popped up across from the school; this year they are no where to be seen. At my in-law’s, I could swear that there was a cluster of them in the middle of the front yard, but there’re not there this year. It’s possible that my father-in-law has mowed over them, but they literally appear over-night; I think I would have at least seen the stalk. This year, they are under the oak tree…& I can’t remember them being there last year.
The theory is that supposedly the heirloom red spider lilies that you see randomly appearing throughout the South are ones that originally marked homesteads that have long-since ceased to exist. I suppose it makes sense, but it just doesn’t explain the randomness of the blooms. Don’t get me wrong – I can appreciate the beauty of the randomness of the blooms, but there is a part of me that wants to know why and how they work. Before I read that article about them, I was happy thinking of them as just some happy surprise, and now I feel like there should be some rhyme or reason to them. Because if they were part of an old homestead, surely there was some rhyme or reason to their planting. Right?
How exactly do you unring a bell? How do I go back to the moment before I decided to dig into what exactly those beautiful flowers are? Hopefully next year when the spider lilies appear, I will have forgotten all of this and will be able to simply enjoy the gorgeous surprise of these fleeting flowers.