I live in a community of quadroplexes. One of the things our HOA fees cover is lawn mowing. Every so often in the spring and summer, the sound of mowers and weed-whackers is heard throughout the neighborhood. They use mowers for the large common areas, and the weed-whackers for the tiny, awkwardly shaped yards that most of us have.
I came out this week to discover they had mowed my front flower bed.
Well, more like “weed-whacked” it. Even though it is surrounded by a border of red bricks. I guessed they missed that. It was probably easy to miss because I haven’t done anything with the front bed this summer. It seemed irresponsible to send my husband out to buy mulch during a quarantine. So, every so often, I go out and pull up all the weeds and it looks tidy. For a while.
A few weeks ago a lovely purple flower came up in the middle of the untidy mayhem. I am guessing it came from a plant in year’s past, something my daughter and I bought at the Oakland Mills Farmers Market and planted together. I was inspired to do more weeding so that the purple flower would have room to grow.
On dry days I watered it. I noticed more and more blossoms. Checking on its progress was a bright spot in my isolated days. It was just a little thing, but it was meaningful to me.
Now it’s gone. I can’t complain because the flower bed certainly didn’t look like much and could easily have looked like just another overgrown expanse to be attended to. Also, who complains about having someone regularly cut their lawn? Indeed, this is a first world problem.
But that little purple flower had become a symbol to me of the beautiful and important things we are all trying to keep alive during the pandemic. Jobs and schooling and income and social interaction are fractured. It feels as though our democracy is disintegrating. There is so much about our lives that we feel powerless to change.
So we find things to cling to. Things that make us feel safe. Things that make us laugh. Things of beauty.
Farewell, little flower. Thank you for the joy you brought me. I hope you come back next year.