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Questioning the Flowers 


Stacey Moyer

Why they choose to grow in the muck they do I don't have the faintest idea... and why they come around during the most disgustingly muggy time of year I can't possible fathom. However, I won't question the little yellow wildflowers that grow by the side of the little pond down the road from my house. They're starting to become familiar; symbolic even.

I'd noticed the little yellow flowers before, when I'd walked by that boring and slightly desolate pond on other occasions. Once I'd put five or six of them in my dog's collar and laughed at his obliviousness to the decoration. I didn't actually think about them until one evening when I was fed up with everything. I suppose you think more clearly when you're alone and concentrating on flushing anger out of your system.

It was a Wednesday evening, if I recall, and I was unhappy with everyone and everything for some reason or another. My teachers were giving a lot of homework when all I wanted to do was relax, my mother was tense and I had been snapped at repeatedly; my father, who I sought out to seek counsel, was indifferent to all my whining. So, I set out for the lake to throw rocks in the water, curse mankind in the presence of Canada geese and dragonflies, and contemplate my frustration and anger.

Upon arriving at my destination, I noted the usual surroundings that my eyes always took note of. The rusted-beyond-recognition sign declaring that no fishing was allowed unless permission was given, the drainpipe that fed the pond from a creek that ran from a spring in our property. The tall grass, the rocks. There were more of the simple grey stones there before my brother and I had started tossing them in the water... and we had been doing that ever since our father had taught us to grip the rock, pull it back over our heads, and let it fly over the muddied water. I noticed the steers wading across the lake, the lilypads, cattails and reeds typical of swampy areas. 

Everything was pretty depressing, as I saw it, and though the sky was calm, clear blue, the water reflected everything grey. My vision moved back in on the six-foot-long area in which small, delicate, bright yellow wildflowers were growing. They'd just started in for the year, and many hadn't even bloomed yet. So I directed my cynical and harsh attitude to the flowers, questioning them for their behavior.

I wondered why they bloomed so prettily in disgusting swampy mud when they could have had full reign of any of the grassy pastures nearby. I pointed out that it was absurd that they should come out when the weather was most disagreeable, very humid with foggy mornings and often drizzly evenings. Why did they begin to close up early in the evening and take their good old time opening up to their full bright glory, which they generally achieved at about 5 PM or so. Stewing over the flowers had improved my temperament considerably, and so I began to rethink what I'd asked the flowers, and jumped up to their defense.

Well sure, they grew in downright putrid mud, but I had similar crimes. Often in the worst of circumstances I grew and blossomed like during no other time. They came out in the humid heat of late summer, granted... but didn't I sometimes follow my whims to go walking through torrents of rain? So they had an odd schedule for resting their pretty little heads... so did I, tending to want to stay up until dawn and sleep until mid afternoon. So there, I said defiantly, winning the argument with myself and unceremoniously forbidding any further points be made. They aren't so bad... in fact, they remind me of me. We have a lot in common.

Rising to go on home, I looked out over the pond again. The rusted sign was rustic... the grey of the water reflecting a few trees across the pasture was beautifully honest in portraying the scenery. I knelt and carefully selected a handful that included everything from one of the biggest of the flowers to some that hadn't even bloomed yet. I put them in a Mason jar with some water and a pinch of sugar.

When I awoke the next morning, the flowers were not up and alive yet. However, I knew that they would be later on, after a few hours of the persuasive afternoon sunshine. And if I felt alone and frustrated with everything then, there were always the flowers. They remind me of me. In fact, we have a lot in common.

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