This summer I found a strange book at a local discount retailer, Familiar Spirits, by Alison Lurie. A memoir of the life of James Merrill (of Merrill Lynch wealth) and his partner David Jackson, and their exceedingly tedious new-agey poetry, it is well written enough, but ultimately boring. They used a Ouija board to compose verse of biblical proportion, and drugs to get the creative juices flowing. Though forgetable overall, there was one journal entry from Merrill I enjoyed and keep thinking of:
"No effects from the mushrooms. For a moment, there, things seemed to be happening: 'I saw a lilac bush turn into a chandelier!' But nothing more happened. Perhaps it's not the season for visions."
What an arresting image, hydrangea transfigured and lit from within:
When I saw this hydrangea in St. Andrew, New Brunswick, I at once remembered the journal passage and the above chandelier, from the palace of the Swedish royal family in Stockholm.
I mean, I think I can see it. And no, I have not been tripping.