If you're at all into plants, you may be lightly wondering why I'm posting a picture of an Amaryllis on April Fools' Day.
Simple: my Amaryllis bulb was planning this lovely joke all along.
It was planning to bloom once, take a year break, and then stunningly bloom again today, laughing squarely in the face of the twelfth day of spring and as a practical joke on Smith and Hawken; on the Target that sold me the bulb three years ago; on the year it stubbornly remained dormant and refused to rebloom; and on me, who almost gave up on the stubborn little bulb which was lovingly watered and carried around and pruned off its leaves back in August and which was placed in a cool dry place until it was brought out on Herr Meow's birthday because it's about four weeks away from the Christmastide and hey! Amaryllises are supposed to bloom around Christmas, right?
But I didn't expect that it would take it three more months to produce a flowering spike, and then another month to grace us with the gorgeous orange-red flowers it gracefully decided to unfurl today on this day of practical jokes, trickery, and many fools.
And to think I almost threw the poor bulb away.
I could not have asked for a better April Fool.
When I was a child, I was fascinated by the Tarot.
Some of the cards were pretty –like the Sun (19) and the Moon (18) and the Star (17), of course. Some seemed exciting, like the Wheel of Fortune (10), and some seemed plain badass, like the Magician (1).
The scariest one to me was the Hanged Man (12)– scarier even than Death (13) itself, looking so pitifully busy with that overpowering scythe. (How is it possible for Death to wield that thing about without getting it confused with one of its bones anyway?). Being hanged upside down by one foot seems to me, to this day, not only inconvenient but extremely painful.
And then there was The Fool (0), and it didn't make much sense.
After all, in most tarot decks, the poor Fool is just taking a leisurely stroll, hobo-style. What makes him a fool? What gives the tarot deck the right to insult one card and not the other 77 anyway?
But The Fool is not only a trump card– making it one of the 22 important cards in a Tarot deck– but it's also the grandpappy of what we know in our scrubbed-clean cards as The Joker.
It's a card without meaning until you give it meaning, in other words– a cipher (hence its number being zero in the tarot order) waiting for you to fill in the blank or produce three other aces so you can have a chance to win it all.
The Fool is what you make of it. He is the vagabond and the nomad and the hapless naïf in your soul, waiting to be placed wherever he can be the catalyst.
We are all fools in some way or another. But maybe all we need to do is to be given a little time, space, sun and water, and just maybe we'll make fools out of those who didn't believe in what we could do.
Or maybe we can just trash the whole thing and buy a new bulb.
But then the joke is doubly on us.