It’s not that I have a black thumb as much as I get distracted.
The important thing is that the two trays of New Guinea Impatiens, which have been thirstily waiting to stretch their roots into the soil by the poorly trimmed, forever damaged (my fault, long story) evergreen bushes by our front door, have been planted. On Saturday, with spade in gardening gloved hand, I pushed aside mulch, dug holes, removed the flowering plants from their artificial, white plastic homes, spread out the roots, and settled those suckers into the ground. It took fifteen minutes.
And five weeks.
Nothing has changed on this front in ten years (or more). No matter how determined I believe that I am, it is virtually impossible for me to purchase my annual pots of flowers and plant them on the same day. Or even in the same week or month.
I wish I had the get-it-done-now-or-else gene but alas, I do not. Especially when it comes to the non-essentials of my life. A category which flowers fall into.
The essentials remain safely managed: kids have shirts and shoes, doctors appointments get made, and dinner makes it to the table every night in some form or fashion. Bills get paid (usually on time), clothes and dishes get washed, and although I’ve been down to “four miles to empty” on my car’s gage, I have never, ever run out of gas and had to walk in shame to a station with a plastic gas can in my hand.
When I view it from the outside, I wonder why I don’t just bring home the flowers and plant them. Fifteen minutes of easy work. I barely get dirty, what with the gloves and all. Yet, it never happens.
I always pick some version of pink, red, or purple flowers, always New Guinea Impatiens, for that spot in front of our home. It was love at first sight when I spotted those flowers in the garden store all those years ago. I love the vibrancy of the colors, the delicate petals, the un-fussy foliage, and the sturdiness of the full plant. Once planted, the flowers flawlessly find their place among the evergreens, at the top of the brick walkway, just below the raised stoop to make the entrance to our home warmer, friendlier, brighter. Suddenly, what was uninteresting and bland comes alive and inviting. Every time I pass my house, on foot or by car, those flowers make me smile. It’s deeper than a smile though. When I see those flowers, I feel hopeful and ready to take on anything. Talk about simple joys.
And all I have to do is plant the flowers to make it so.
I’m sure a therapist would have a field day explaining how I put the things that give me joy last, how I need to tend to myself if I am ever going to feel happy, how I need to put myself in the equation of my every day life. And perhaps that therapist would be spot on with my problem.
But I’m not there yet. Although I feel like I’m moving in the right direction.
And the flowers do stay in the ground for at least two and a half months of every year, even if it takes five weeks longer than necessary to get them there.
Right now, the morning dishes need to get washed. And there is that phone call I need to make to the insurance company about an unpaid claim. And I need to get to the post office to mail a package back to Amazon and two letters that were supposed to go out last week.
Through the window, I can see the trees gently blowing in the breeze, the golden glint upon the leaves.
I’ve made a decision. The responsibilities can wait a few minutes, even a half an hour. I’m going to take my now-cold cup of coffee, walk out my front door, and spend a little time admiring those amazing flowers as they turn their fluttering faces toward the sun.
I’d say I’m moving in the right direction.