Last Thursday night after work, I'm a server, I came home pretty late, around 12:30 am. It was the night before the full moon, so it was out bare and bright. I parked in the back of my apartment complex and like any other night headed towards the back gate. Its' pretty dark back there with just a dim outdoor light. The first thing that struck me before I opened the gate, which is surrounded with plants and stuff, was an overwhelming, fragrant aroma. It was so strong and beautiful almost like Magnolia with a little more spice and POTENT. I looked down to my right and there was this huge white puff ball. It took a second for my eyes to adjust and receive that it was actually a flower. It was about 6 inches in diameter and hanging down, not growing up. I recall the plant and seeing it around for years but have never seen it bear fruit or flora. I had never seen anything so beautiful. It was so different from any other flower and why was it in full bloom in the middle of the night? Thankfully 2 days prior I purchased a fairly decent camera from a friend. I ran inside to grab it so I could take pictures, even though I was beat and it was so late. As I was on my knees photographing this phenomenon a kid from the complex was getting dropped off behind me. He proceeded to walk towards the gate. I asked him if he could smell the fragrance and he said he could. I then asked him to really take it in and made him bend over and sniff the flower close up. He was surprised and awkwardly removed his phone from his pocket and said, "I think I'm going to take a picture too!"
The next morning I brought my camera to work and showed everyone how magnificent this flower was. When I got home I took the dog out in the back to run with her buddies and ran into the owner of this plant. My neighbor has moved it a few times, I've always just figured she was trying to rehab it. It was always so yellow and looked overwatered or sick. I told her about the night before and showed her the pictures. She was so upset that she had missed it. She's seen it bloom before but said she always picks the flower and then it's done.
The Dessert Queen or Queen of the Night is a cactus that blooms in either June or July ONCE a year. The flower fully opens early morning and by dusk it has closed, shriveled up and will soon fall off and die. This flower blooms one time, once a year and I happened upon it in the middle of the night.
This amazing miracle was laid right before me and I feel so honored and in tune with nature. I've definitely related this flowers' process to life, in that every moment we are allowed to be complete, whole and who we truly are, we touch the world and those around us. Opening up, expressing ourselves and sharing our life is a gift. We can no longer live in fear, closing ourselves off from experiences, relationships and interactions. This flower only has one night to live, just as we only have one life.
The fallacy of such a plain and sickly looking plant has also touched my heart. To just exist, to sit plainly and quietly, while your heart is growing and expanding. Love has no other direction to go but out and forward, into a magnificent, unexpected bloom.