…and there were lilies: V. Christmas

A haibun this time (prose + haiku), but no photo because I don’t grow this type of lily. They’re a formosan lily or Taiwan lily, but we’ve always just called them Christmas lilies because they bloom around Christmas all along the coastal roads of NSW. 

Driving home under a deep blue sky,  we open the windows to let the hot air rush in and dry the salt water from our skin. It leaves traces of glistening white behind – as white as the lilies along the roadside.
We sweep along the coast then up a winding forest road under tall trees, breathing the breath of the forest. We emerge into light, to the other side of the dividing range and cross wide flat plains, golden in the low evening sun, striped by the long shadows of cattle. The dog watches them, his head out the window, pink tongue blowing back, brown eyes squinted against the wind. The scent of grass and cattle displaces the forest’s breath.
We stay on country roads, passing through small towns, until crossing the highway, finally, we come to our small-town home, our first home. The dog leaps out, and goes straight to his water bowl, long tongue lapping and splashing noisily. Throwing open windows to release the day’s accumulated heat, we open a bottle of cheap champagne – celebrating summer, our new home, each other. The cork flies and bounces from the ceiling, startling the dog. We are laughing when the phone rings.

All along the road
Christmas lilies were blooming,
white augurs of grief.

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