Saturday, June 23, 2012

flower power

It all began with a squirrel.

What I love best about my apartment in the city is that I can lie on the couch and looked out at my little brick balcony at the trees on the street, the lights that I string across it, and in summer, the boxes of flowers that I plant. Often I have the TV on, but I'm as interested in just .... staring out at the green, or brown, or white of the season.

Now the flower pots and boxes are full. A movement caught my eye, and what did I see? That damn squirrel. That same one that was a regular when my beloved cat, Mister, was still living. Oh how he would taunt Mister! It was as if he were saying, 'Na na na na na! I'm out and you're in.' Without his playmate, he's taken to eating my flowers! I shoo'd him off, but while I was gone on my mini-break, he dug out a perfectly patterned square of impatients... well, my patience has worn thin with his squirreliness.

the hole that the squirrel dug
Squirrel in the Window Box                                    

on the couch,
look out window,
the tree rat
buries a nut.

flowers bent,
roots dug up,
no bloom

chili sprinkle,
spicy charm,
get out rat,
no room here.

That's right ... tree rat, no room here. I went on a walk this morning and stopped at a garden shop and bought replacement flowers. While there, I also bought a pretty hanging basket of flowers. I was pretty overloaded and still had about 6 or 7 blocks to walk home, but it was worth it.

said flowers
Carrying my bag and basket of flowers felt like a very summery thing to do. I have lived in my neighborhood for nearly two decades. It is one of Ukrainian immigrants, many still who are newly here and with limited English. They are a ... steely bunch. Not particularly friendly. But I like the European movement and mood of the blocks. The church bells tell time for me, the ladies are always heeled and skirted, and the shop is daily and purposed. I've settled nicely into the rhythm of it even though the man that sits on his balcony across the street and watches my every move never says hello, waves, or arches a brow in acknowledgement of my presence. I don't mind him ... and all of those eyes make for a very low crime rate.

But on this day ... carrying flowers, the silence was broken. As I walked home, first one, then another Ukrainian woman stopped me to look at my flowers. The first woman was shy and spoke in a very quiet voice, "Your flowers are so pretty." Then the next woman stopped, and carried on a conversation with me. She wanted to know where I bought them, how much they cost, and explained how they could stay in bloom until December. What a happy day.

I have a new appreciation for the phrase, 'Flower Power.'

For the squirrel? Oh, he gets the chili powder. You can look at and admire my flowers, but you can't squirrel them away!

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