We blossom with the sun.
It calls to us, once in a lifetime, its golden song causing us to wake. We have one day to bloom. Only one day to live.
But how lovely it is to live at all.
Here is a man, a young boy. He is watering the flowers, rearranging some leaves to make sure that the sun reaches every last plant.
I hover above, watching curiously. There is no sense in taking care of something else when you are the spirit of a daylily. You will never have a chance to watch it grow.
Below, the boy's movements are slow and careful; they speak of a love for this garden—a sweet sort of love, so very pure, the kind of love that trickles into the hollow of your chest and warms it from inside.
I wonder if he can see me.
"Of course they can't see us," says the rose spirit. "They're only human. They haven't the skill. We're like air to them."
"But see, he's looking at me right now."
"That's only your flower. He doesn't know that you exist. And besides, what does it matter?"
What does it matter? I will be gone come sunset.
It is hot, terribly hot, the sun beating down mercilessly. Yet the boy continues to make his rounds. He scatters fertilizer here and there, the rich material smelling of loam and life.
He takes special care around the roots. He never uproots them, even with his clumsy feet; he cannot fly, after all, not like us spirits.
I swoop down in front of him. He is humming a song under his breath. I listen carefully and hum a few notes back. He grows quiet and tilts his head. I hold my breath.
Can you see me?
There is no sense in taking care of things when you will never get the chance to watch them grow. And yet.
The boy has fallen asleep by the fence. The late afternoon sunlight traces the contours of his face, lining it with gold.
On a whim, I gesture at the oak beside us. It obligingly shifts a little, its bark groaning slightly. The cool shade drifts over the boy, providing respite from the glaring sun.
His eyes flutter open.
I lean back. For a moment, hope flickers through me, a spark so brief and faint that I barely sense it.
His eyes are searching the horizon. He seems lost, almost bereft. But his gaze is unseeing.
I drop a kiss on his temple, though he cannot feel it, and drift away.
"Why are you hovering over him again? Shouldn't you be getting ready to go?"
The other spirits wonder why I follow him. They wonder why I would ask the oak to lend its shade for a human. They wonder why I should try to take care of him, when I will disappear after today.
What a question. Can't they see the way he looks at this garden? Can't they see?
We die with the sun.
I wanted to stay a little longer. It would have been nice to know how the garden would grow. I wonder if he will come back tomorrow.
To be the spirit of a daylily is to bloom and die within a single day. I know this, as well as anyone. But I will never know if he comes back tomorrow.
My vision is fading. Through the encroaching dark, I see that he has his chin propped on the palm of his hand as he leans against the gate. He is looking at the flowers again.
I think of the way he looked at the horizon.
I wonder if he knows.
Can you see me?
Can you see?