A friend gave me an amaryllis bulb as a gift just before Christmas, for it's soon-blossoming beauty, she said. We need those signs of growth in winter. A leafless stalk and bud, lo and behold, has become a thing of gorgeousness in short order. I am grateful for this cheerful show.
I did not immediately remember that amaryllis are common in California, where they are associated not with Christmas or early spring, but late summer. I saw them this August, tall naked stalks with bright pink flowers in trios at the top, unlike this, my snow-white delight. My Grandmother knows amaryllis as naked ladies, and remembers them as a sign of summer's end. The summers spent at a mountain lake, cool swimming in the hot Sierras, would wind down with a return to the coastal city. A new school year would begin with a chorus line of naked ladies, cheerfully dancing by the roadway.
From late summer transitions to mid-wintern sustenance, different geography lends completely different meaning to the same simple beauty.
* Wikipedia informs me my lovely winter bulb is more accurately an Hippeastrum, a member of the Amaryllidaceae family and popularly mislabeled as amaryllis. The pink Amaryllis belladonna in California are true, but hark from Africa. Another story entirely...