Saturday, July 2, 2011

Planting Some Cheer

The front door to our house is red, which I consider warm and inviting.  I thought some potted flowers would add additional cheer so a few years ago I invested in two large pots to sit on either side of the stoop.  Every year around Mother's Day I give myself the gift of bright, ruby-colored geraniums that make me smile throughout the spring and summer.

Except this year.  Afternoons, pulling into the driveway lugging grocery bags, I was greeted by pots sprouting overgrown weeds and tiny maple saplings. 

Yesterday my friend Ellen comes over to drop her daughter off to play with Katherine.  A fellow teacher, we laugh and commiserate about the busyness of the school year and our ever-growing list of things we put off 'til summer. 

"I didn't even wear a watch for six months because I couldn't find time to get a new battery," she tells me.

"Enough is enough," I think.  "I'm planting my flowers today," I announce to her.

Buying them is easy--the kids help me pick out blooms in every color.  When you wait until July there are no crowds and lots of sales.  Once home, I really enjoy myself at first.  I love the feeling of the cool dirt between my fingers and the instant satisfaction each time I transfer a flower from its plastic tray to its permanent home. 

Soon, however, the hot July sun seems even hotter.  The muscle between my neck and right shoulder is tied in knots.  As most of the blooms are planted, I begin to think of the unpleasant task of cleaning up looming ahead.

Still, I press on.  I think of Ellen, returning at the end of the afternoon to find my job half complete.  "Get that grit," I tell myself.  "One step at a time."

Then, it is done.  I am sweaty, dirty and happy.  The last of the potting soil is swept off the front porch and I feel satisfied. 

But I don't stop there--basking in the glow of my own accomplishment, I reach into my jewelry box for a watch I haven't worn in weeks.  And I head off to the jeweler for a new battery. 

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