Posted by: penpatience | September 6, 2013


SI Exif

Writers Words: The difference between the almost right word and the right word is….the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning. –Mark Twain

Note: I’m pleased to announce that my Essay, “Whatever the Cost” was chosen as one of twenty winners in the Saturday Evening Post “Tribute to our Troops” Contest :

                                                                                             SEPTEMBER 2013 MUSING


It’s a hot eighty degrees in upstate New York today. Sitting outdoors on the back patio with the thrum of my neighbor’s air conditioner competing with butterflies and buzzing bees in my flower beds, my hands wrapped around a cup of hot tea (yes, I prefer hot to iced even in the summertime), I recalled the spring and summer blooms that filled my townhome’s small gardens.

This year was a good year. Clumps of orange and yellow day lilies were a kaleidoscope of color hugging the back fence. Lilies of the valley, a friend’s gift and my favorite flower, formed a stately green and white row along the other side. Tulips, Daffodils, Columbine, English Daisies, purple and white Coneflowers, yellow Coreopsis, Sedum and Primrose all took colorful turns preening for their share of attention. Annual Marigold and Impatiens filled each sunny and shady void in bare spots that remained.

The sun soothed my tired body as I sat and admired my plants. However, as each birthday adds an additional year to my chronological age, I pondered what the future holds for me and my precious flower beds. I rejected the notion that there might come a day when I might not be physically capable of caring for my home and beloved flora. I shuttered when a sudden, horrifying thought flitted through my mind.  When I die, and why was I thinking about death on this gorgeous, gorgeous day; what if my home was purchased by a non-gardener who dug up the flowers and planted grass? Shaking my mind from this gloomy reverie, I chided myself for being prematurely maudlin, even a bit ridiculous. Why should I care what happened to my gardens after I was gone? But while I scrunched deeper in the chair within my personal oasis, I knew I did care.

I sipped more tea and fell into pensive reflection. If only we could pull noxious happenings from our lives as easily as we dig out ugly crabgrass. What if we could plow under daily stress, medical issues and family misunderstandings just as easy as we cultivate and turn over soil for next year’s crop? As a writer, I’d love to swat a rejection letter from my desk just as easily as I’d whack an annoying mosquito from my arm. I’d like to sniff the victorious scent of an accepted short story with the same enthusiasm I inhale the heady fragrance of a Lily of the Valley bloom.

Although most gardeners spread weed killers, sometimes with a vengeance, attempting to kill weeds that thrive in our pristine landscapes, that old adage, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” comes to mind. What I consider to be a dratted dandelion, someone else might value the dandelion leaf as an edible addition to tossed salad. Instead of eradicating spreading clover, another gardener might kneel in the clover patch until they found that elusive “fourth leaf.”  Where I view grass as unwelcome, a new homeowner might be enchanted by a beautiful, green, well-kept lawn.

I finish my tea, turn to go inside the house still thinking about grass versus flowers when my eyes embrace the large group of brown-eyed Susan blooms along the fence.  I decide to forget about the future of my little landscape and enjoy the heady scents of today.  C’est la vie!(that’s life) and I’m still living it!


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