Tiger Lily

I rarely mix photography with writing, and when I do it, there are usually travel photos mixed with comments about the visited places. This time however, I will make an exception. The plant you see in this article is Lilium lancifolium, known worldwide as the tiger lily (in Romanian we call it the Turkish lily, because the flower in full bloom resembles to a turban). It was photographed by me several years ago, when I was still living in Galati, my hometown in Eastern Romania. I never published images of it because I felt it was not the right time. Now, its time has come…

I told you in the past (for those who remember) the story of the iris that acts as my trademark image on the internet. The iris still lives there, in Galati, in the garden of my grandparents where I spent my childhood. But there, in the garden, there used to be another plant that I loved and which, during my lifetime, I only found it there and nowhere else: the tiger lily. For me, it is the symbol of that garden, of my family, of my childhood, because it is unique to that place and that particular time. Years have passed and the bush of lilies growing in a shadowy corner of the garden vanished little by little. My grandpa died many years ago, then other years passed over the garden and it came a day when I had to leave Galati. Soon after, the lilies were gone. Then, since about half a year, my grandma had to leave the house and be admitted in a house for seniors, as there is nobody able to look after her. Now, according to the news I get from Galati, the house is deserted and silent, and the garden turned wild and not looked after. The remaining family members still visit the house but nobody resides there. My family dies… and there is not going to be any continuity of life there in that place…

For some weeks I get worrying dreams during the night… No bad news presently from the part of my grandma, but still… some future events approach with their shadows cast ahead of them… Even if I now live far away, I still dream myself inside my childhood house. However, I began to dream that the house is falling apart. First I dreamt that the blue iris was transformed in some sort of ivy with similar blue flowers, zigzagging over the entire house and squeezing it. Then, I dreamt that a lot of wild grass was suffocating the garden and even the house. I decided to cut that grass but I woke up instantly, being forbidden to touch it. Then, I dreamt my grandma inside the house, disoriented, blind and deaf, not recognizing me. Recently, I began to dream walls falling, floors cracking and not being able to enter the house at all…

The time has come to post the photos of the tiger lily. I am sure about it. My childhood universe will come, again and again, to haunt me during my sleep. But something is moving. The symbols are changing. The shadows are near.

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