This isn’t a story about “days dwindling down” that we all know from the familiar “September Song” by the twentieth century composer Kurt Weill and lyricist Maxwell Anderson. But it seems apt, nevertheless.
Let me start with the fact that I had a tough week. It was just one of those times when everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. I have a tour coming up that I am leading myself, passengers with health issues – some necessitating cancelling, new tour requests from individuals, and group proposals to be designed, priced and booked with ridiculously short due dates. The usual.
I sorely needed a break.
So about mid-morning I went out onto the deck for a breath of fresh air. It was the same depressing scene as the last time I was out there (which is not nearly often enough). For only the second time since I moved here almost twenty years ago, I hadn’t planted the dozens of flower pots which line my two-story staircase, landings and wrap-around deck. And we’ve had such a wet, stormy summer, it’s doubtful the new plantings could have survived the sometimes daily hail anyway. The hanging pots are swaying in the wind, full of mud and with last year’s detritus still forlornly spilling over the edges. This wasn’t helping my mood at all, so I turned to go back inside.
But as I did, I spied out of the corner of my eye a splash of color in amongst the straw-like clump of grass in the big pot by the door. Was I seeing things? I poked around the carcass of limp grass and, sure enough, there was a tiny pink petunia. Alive!
Now, without belaboring the point, annuals are just that: flowers that last for only one season. They die with the first frost, and need to be replaced next spring. So where did this come from?
I quickly tore out the dry grasses to find not one but two brave little petunias. I couldn’t believe my eyes! In mid-August. Where were these guys in the spring, when I really needed them?
Now I was psyched. I rarely use the outside stairs, opting for the shorter inside route to my office on the third floor. So I began to wonder, maybe something else had survived our endless winter. Casting my eyes down, down, down to the lowest landing, I saw some more colors! In fact there were flowers – straggly, spindly, tiny, but definitely flowers – in four out of the five pots in the railing container. Why hadn’t I looked sooner? Had they been there all along? Maybe they were, and I was just too self-absorbed to notice.
Now – unexpectedly – impossibly, I have been presented with long dormant blossoms, in late summer, of “annual” petunias. Poking their heads up out of muddy, neglected patio pots.
It was just what the doctor ordered. I came back to my desk renewed and ready to tackle anything.
Flowers always do that for me. (Not to mention miracles!)