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Among splotches of wintered grass appearing bleached and care worn appear surges of greening like bunches of giggling preteens at their first dance. It’s begun… Enjoy!

At 7:20 A.M., I awoke with this healing dream:

It is evening. I’m walking outdoors, anxious. My tooth aches and my dentist’s office is closed for the day. Out of the blue, another dentist sees my distress and offers his treatment: laughing gas. Despite its unfamiliarity, I agree. After injecting my body with the tiniest of pinpricks, the tooth pain is gone, and we resume walking.

The dream’s time, evening, suggests my waning energies, all the more depleted by my terminal illness. My toothache, a disorder that pains me, suggests my inability to chew deeply through experiences, to avoid matters that command my attention, even hold anything in place—an irritant that sours my mood and plunges me into self-pity: nothing matters other than the diseased tooth.

The toothache also suggests weeks of being out of sorts, soured by my new symptoms and side effects of a new drug.

The dentist, unknown from reality, suggests “a power greater than myself that can restore me to sanity,” or in other words, the Sacred disguised beneath the practitioner who knows my distress and offers specific help, laughing gas. The numerous pinpricks, barely felt, suggest cues toward deeper practice of the Twelve Steps and the rediscovery of the joy of living.

My healing astounds me and together, we walk into the evening, enjoying dusk’s sky-colors through bare branches of trees.

(Sir Humphrey Davy, early nineteenth century English chemist and inventor, colloquialized nitrous oxide into laughing gas, a reaction caused by inhaling it.)

Seems to me that airy paperwhites, from the Narcissus family, bridge winter’s fury and spring’s first blushing. Easily cultivated indoors, the dun-colored bulbs, the size of Ping-Pong balls, line watery bottoms of open vases whose tangled roots are stabilized within chips of marble or other stones.

Rotating the potted vases within the sun’s late morning warming facilitates the growth of straight green blades and stirs anticipation for what is coming. After three weeks of tending and waiting and loving, clusters of white flowers exude heady perfume that sweetens kitchens, or wherever placed.

Aside from the paperwhites’ beauty, others take solace in its symbolism: purity, simplicity, new beginnings, and innocence—Even virginal in its wholeness.

However, a review of the Narcissus myth, as told by the Roman poet Ovid and others, affords a different spin on the origins of this delicate flower. Its first flowering resulted from the over-infatuation of the handsome Narcissus, of godly parentage, his spurning other’s attention, and his death related to extreme isolation by the side of a river. Through this tragedy, the gods must have perceived some kind of deliverance and marked its significance by this fragrant flower.

However this story evolved in its multiple versions, it was often represented on the frescoed walls of the wealthy, especially in Pompeii, and the works of Renaissance artists.

But the paperwhites, from the Narcissus genus, still arouse my spirit and fill me with gratitude for their Sacred fragrance.

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