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Blossoms and Bargains




Overnight the yellow jessamine blooms. Floating in the topmost branches of the scrub oaks along the river road, the flowers look like a cloud of fairies. They also look like an entire orchestra of trumpets, the outer lips curling back into snarky smiles.


And, then, over the next night, the wild plum trees bloom. Their bright gold stamens wiggling back and forth in the slightest breeze look like the jacks I used to toss into the air and watch fall on the breezeway at Mattie Lively during recess, scraping my knuckles on the concrete as I rushed to pick them up before the red rubber ball bounced.


And, then, crossing the yard, I see that the blue toadflax has sprouted up around the holes that the armadillos have dug.  The stems are tall and thinner than a spaghetti noodle.  A circle of asymmetrical petals that dangle like dog tongues makes the tiny flowers.


It is – obviously and with disregard to the official date on the calendar still three weeks away – spring.


Or so it seems.  I am not completely sure.  


Despite the chartreuse buds on the hydrangea and the olive green catkins dangling from the oak trees, despite the balmy breeze and the early light coming through my bedroom windows, despite the near-constant birdsong I can not bring myself to take my coats to the dry cleaners.


Spring is a flirt.  A coquette.  A tease.  She can not be trusted.  


One February I found a beautiful dress on the clearance rack at Dillard’s in Atlanta.  My friend Lynn was with me and we agreed that it would make a wonderful Easter dress.  It was navy blue with large white polka dots.  It had a fitted waist and a full skirt.  It was also sleeveless.  The fact that it cost $15 was the piece de resistance.  A bargain for sure.  I could hardly wait for Easter.


On Palm Sunday the temperature crashed.  The forecast was definitive: Easter would not just be chilly, but downright cold.  I spent the entire week looking for a sweater to go with my $15 dress.  I found one – it cost $70.  


That sweater – which I remember with bitterness – is, of course, but a symbol for every disappointment, rejection, and betrayal that I have ever experienced.  A metaphor for every failure, loss, and defeat I have ever suffered.  A reminder of every false step, wrong decision, and poor choice I have ever made.  That sweater is a monument to Nature’s unpredictability and my own humanity.


And, yet, even as I stare at my coat hanging over the chair in the living room ready for what I am sure is going to be another day of stiff wind and brrr-ish temperature, I can not help imagining the first barefoot day, the first whiff of honeysuckle, the first taste of blackberries.  Even as I recognize Spring for the heartbreaker she is and always will be, I admit that I am besotted and always will be.


Spring, I have learned, like friendship and love, is never a bargain.  You will never get it for less than full price. 


Copyright 2024

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Another beautiful entry! Hurry, Spring; my favorite season of all.

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