Karina Lutz

Evening primrose A biennial,the evening primrose livesits first year asa basal whorl,hoveringclose to the ground, hidingunder the taller summer weeds.Wintering over, it waits for warmth,then sends up tall stalks that bloom and bloom andset more and more seedpods along its lengthening stems. This weed opens its flower at dusk,shines for the moon, and closes at dawn.It bears seeds in upright, open-topped pods,easily shaken into the palm. That year, 2002, I prayed for healingevery morning: with low-lidded gaze through the windowtowards the garden, I bowed to my flowers with the sun.Seeing the world as we knew itbegin to collapse slowly, likethe first moments of the twin towers’melting floor by floor,I resolved to relymore on spirit than substance,and tried to weanmyself from the medicationsa decaying civilization is unlikelyto continue to provide. One medicine stubbornly held on to me:evening primrose oil.Whenever I stopped taking the capsules,my illness would return. I kept praying: may I be healthy, may you be healthy,may all beings know peace. That summer evening primrose appeared in my garden,somehow overlooked while weeding the fall before.Sweet yellow flowers slowly folded closedas the sun rose.Where I, too, bowedto the rising sun each morning,the evening primrose had sown itself seasons before I had begun to pray. Who Cupped hands hold ashesup to wind.Lighter than sand,heavierthan feathers, the ashes stream, billow, drift. Grey cloudsalready plump with smoke embrace, absorb, carryback to life’s realms (air, water, soil),reinhume, while the humanswait to inhale, then do. Drop to knees and placewhat remains, grit of bone,in the fire circle,now cold, still ready. Karina Lutz is a workshop leader, teacher, and sustainable energy activist. She helped found and run People’s Power & Light, a sustainable energy nonprofit. She has been instrumental in passage of environmental legislation in Rhode Island, thwarting a proposed megaport in Narragansett Bay and rewilding wetlands along the Blackstone River. She practices with the Joyfully Together sangha in Providence.