In Search of Soil, a Home

Three years ago, we celebrated the arrival of spring by potting tulips in an outdoor planter. For a few short days afterward, as I stood at the sink in my kitchen in the mornings, I admired the flowers, their saturated purple against the backdrop of bricks and concrete, illuminated by the soft, early light. Then an unexpected cold front came through, and I watched with disappointment as the wind carried off the delicate petals one by one, until one morning, there was no purple left to admire. The stems were all that remained until they, too, withered and died, unable to withstand the elements. I wondered if some lingering remnants of the tulips might reappear at some point, but the years have continued to pass, with the pot holding nothing but its flowerless soil. Then, a few weeks ago, I noticed small, green shoots beginning to peek over the edges of the planter, and I walked over to the window for a closer look. As the planter’s new residents have grown taller and taller still, I’ve found myself loving them all the more for their unannounced arrival, the fact that I did not plant them there — as though they’ve found me, those once-aimless, nameless seeds in search of soil, a home.