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The first time I grew tulip bulbs in a vase without soil, the results seemed to be pretty miraculous. I simply placed the bulbs, which had been sitting in my cold garage for a few weeks, into a tall vase. The vase came with a simple plastic support that kept the bottoms of the bulbs out of the water but very near it. Pretty soon, little white tendrils emerged from the bottom and green nubbin-leaves pushed out the top. How did the tulip “know” it was worth the effort to do all that pushing and struggling to become the roots and the leaves of a plant? But the bulbs continued to struggle and get closer and closer in expressing their full “tulipness.” I am not presenting an argument that tulips are sentient, but they sure are pretty, and I get more optimistic that some of my ideas, battered and chilled as they are, just might “decide” to get beautiful with some time and some sunlight and a friend to water me a little now and then.

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