A member of the lily family, this delicate native — sometimes called Crow Poison and sometimes false garlic — is one of our earliest spring wildflowers. On the morning of January 7, a scattering of these plants, basking in dew-drying sunlight alongside a Brazoria County road, brought to mind a portion of T.S. Eliot’s “Little Gidding.”
Midwinter spring is its own season,
Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown,
Suspended in time, between pole and tropic.
When the short day is brightest, with frost and fire,
The brief sun flames the ice on pond and ditches
In windless cold that is the heart’s heat,
Reflecting in a watery mirror
A glare that is blindness in the early afternoon.
And glow more intense than blaze of branch, or brazier,
Stirs the dumb spirit: no wind, but pentecostal fire
In the dark time of the year. Between melting and freezing
The soul’s sap quivers. There is no earth smell
Or smell of living thing. This is the spring time
But not in time’s covenant. Now the hedgerow
Is blanched for an hour with transitory blossom
Of snow, a bloom more sudden
Than that of summer, neither budding nor fading,
Not in the scheme of generation.
Where is the summer, the unimaginable