The high school's marching band kids come around mid-winter, with cheery brochures depicting pretty pink and red and yellow blooms. Now, I know I'm not much of a gardener. But every year, I buy flats of support-the-marching-band flowers. Flats and flats and flats.
This mid-winter was no different. In fact, I bought from not one... not two... but THREE marching band kids. (A clarinetist, a color guard member, and trumpeter, for the record.)
Why? Well, by mid-winter, who isn't a sucker for a cheery brochure filled with pictures of pretty flowers?
Plus, I'm a sucker for kids who come up to my door trying to look cool, even indifferent... yet still looking a bit hopeful, even eager... as they pedal Girl Scout cookies and Boy Scout popcorn and coupons-I'll-never-use-for-stuff-I-don't-want-at-merchants-I-never-visit for wrestling/cheerleading/track/football/cross country. And flowers for marching band. After all, our daughters (one now in college, the other a recent college graduate) were those kids, plying our neighbors and friends and relatives who were ever-so-kind and patient. So I figure it's my turn to do the buying, now.
And, yeah, I'm a little sentimental. Our kids are long past the stage of selling stuff for their activities. And as much of a pain as it was to help them coordinate it all, I miss those days. During our oldest daughter's junior year of high school, I was even in charge of the marching band's flower sale. (She played trombone.) Nothing says spring like a high school gym literally filled from bleacher to bleacher, basketball hoop to basketball hoop, with flats of begonias, petunias, impatiens and marigolds.
Nothing says oh-God-why-did-I-agree-to-this like contemplating those flats and knowing I was in charge of making sure we had enough of every single variety to match every single order... those orders, by the way, numbering in the thousands.
But I'm still just a wee bit sentimental about those days.
So, I bought flats of flowers. And more flats. And more or less forgot about them until... they showed up on my porch.
And my heart fell.
As I mentioned, I'm not much of a gardener. But this was the first time I felt a sense of dread pouring over me at the prospect of planting those flowers.
Let's just say that I've reached the stage in life where I realize I don't mind living in a house with a yard, but I really don't get much joy out of taking care of the yard. I like to look at a pretty yard. I just don't want to be responsible for making the yard look pretty. I'd rather hike. Or read. Or write. Or go to films or plays, or visit restaurants, galleries and museums.
Let's also just say that I've reached the stage where my fantasies don't center on Johnny Depp or winning the lottery or being famous. I just want a life-time membership to Angie's List, and the purchasing power for a decent yard service.
Still, I couldn't very well toss away 90 dollars worth of flats of flowers.
So today, I planted them.
I picked today because (a) the flowers were starting to wilt and (b) it's finally warm and nice and (c) I was feeling restless from several issues weighing on my mind.
And eventually, as I popped the flowers into their designated pots, I started feeling less resentful of the begonias and coleus and impatiens I'd purchased. In fact, the issues on my mind started seeming less weighty. I gained a sense of perspective about my concerns. I saw with clarity my next steps.
Which now include taking some Tylenol. Ack, my aching back!
No, I'm not a gardener today any more than I was yesterday. But I'm glad I bought and planted the flowers after all, both because of how some time spent outside putzing around helped me mentally and because of how pretty the flowers look, after all.
Plus my timing was excellent. If I remember correctly, any day now members of the local football team are going to come around to sell mulch...