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WE WHO ABOUT TO DIE SALUTE YOU
September 13, 2004
 
Soil too rich? I did put a lot of compost in there when I planted, and then I fed it besides. That happens -- too much of a good thing and all you get is luxuriant leaves -the plant becomes indolent, doesn't think it has to do any work, just stretches and yawns and makes another leaf or two. No flowers.

The planter is the terra cotta head of a yound girl. She hangs on the wall of our house beside the kitchen door. She used to have a boyfriend -- also a planter -- but he was killed one day when somebody banged the door extra hard -- leapt right off the wall and shattered on the ground. He always was the nervous type. They made a cute couple up there on the wall -- I used to put different plants in each one, like different hats. A trailing plants gave her luxuriant long flowery hair. Something straight up gave him a punk look.

This year, though, the girl's morning glory locks -- one of the easiest plants to grow on God's green earth -- stubbornly refused to bloom. It grew and grew -- long hair, yes, but it covered her face and the wall, until she looked like Cousin It on the Addams Family. And not a flower. Not one.

Ah, well, I thought as fall approached. We'll do something else. I ripped the vine right out of the top of her head and put in a nice purple plant whose name I forget, a plant whose wonderful foliage is the most important thing about it anyway. This will look nice until mid-October, for sure. Maybe November. Hastily, on my way to something else, I stuffed the discarded morning glory vine into one of the big paper bags to which we daily contribute unwanted greenery.

And the next day, trailing out of the top of the bag, a lovely blue trumpet-shaped bloom. And the following day, another, and another, as the vine began to wither -- no water, no soil, no nothing. They bloomed for several days on the dying vine.

I'm so sorry to have cut you off, I said, as I came down the back steps. Why didn't you bloom sooner? I would never have pulled you up if I had thought you were going to bloom.

Oh, it's all right, one of the flowers said. She sounded surprisingly cheerful for someone in her position. It's my destiny to bloom and I'm blooming. I would die anyway, after a few days. All anyof nus can do is have our livesw. I'm having my life now. Don't feel sad for me.

But why didn't you bloom sooner?

Well, she said, as a breeze lifted on edge of her skirt just a bit. Actually, you made life too easy for us. Too much to eat, too easy to get it. We bloom out of need, you know. You made it seem as if there were all the time in the world.

And now that you're dying....

Yes. There's very little time. I must show forth my beauty now, while I can. Very little time. It was true. All the leaves on the vine were shrivelled now, browning on their edges.

Well, I'm glad you got the chance to bloom.

Me, too. Thanks for forcing me.

Yeah, well...

No, really. Thanks.
Copyright © 2018 Barbara Crafton
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