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The Cover
January 22/29, 2003

Still Life, Tulips

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(4):392. doi:10.1001/jama.289.4.392

In northern climes spring comes in Christmas cache pots. Living rooms, studies, schoolrooms, sickrooms, offices—windowsills everywhere burst with color: reds, yellows, blues, purples, mauves; amaryllis, tulips, hyacinth, jonquils, daffodils. Natural spring takes a little longer, but the delay only intensifies the longing. The season is poignant because it is so long-awaited and so quickly gone, yet it is perhaps this very brevity that makes it so desired. Its beauty is like Eden, or grace, or a gift of love: it is ours to enjoy, but not to possess. We may desire it, ardently, but we cannot command it. It is its own season and—except for cache pots—spring comes when it will. Though repeated every year, it is a phenomenon that never grows old, its surprise never dulled. Each is as startling as though it were the first, yet as familiar as though it had been and would be forever.