Saturday, April 9, 2011
All my flowers are blooming. The first one that came up was my mother’s. It’s a tulip. Jamie’s boyfriend Lou’s mother gave it to her when she was first in the hospital. She wasn’t allowed to have any plants or flowers in her room so she gave it to me because she knew I wouldn’t kill it. No one else in my family gardens. I carried it down to Virginia in its pot covered with crinkly pink foil. It was carefully wedged between a suitcase and a cooler filled with pork roll and cannolis from the Italian bakery. I planted it next to my back steps so I could see it all the time. It died right away. I thought that was a bad sign. And I was right. My mother died too.
The following spring I fixed up that little area by the back steps. I put mulch down and made a border out of Kelly’s collection of glass insulators. The colored glass looks really pretty when the sun is shining. I put an old tin watering can there that my neighbor from Jersey gave to me because she knew I liked old things. I put a metal sculpture of a grasshopper there that my mother bought for Kelly’s room when she was a baby. I added a couple of pretty rocks that I found, one with white streaks of quartz in the shape of a cross (I considered selling that one on eBay—“Woman sees Jesus on a stone!”), and another rock shaped just like Jersey. I put a dot on the spot where the winery house would be with black Magic Marker.
Then, when I was in Peebles, they had one of those fake rocks for sale that you hide your house key inside. I would never hide my house key in one of those because everyone knows what they’re for. Might as well hide it under the doormat if you want to be stupid. But I liked it because it had a copper plate in the middle with a picture of a butterfly on it. My mother loved butterflies. So I bought it and I put it right in the middle of the little plot of earth by my steps. Every time I go up and down, I look at it and think about my mother.
Last week I was on my hands and knees weeding when I spotted something green sticking out from underneath the fake rock. I picked it up. It was the tulip! Two springs have gone by since it died and here it was again, nosing up through the mulch, muscling its way from underneath the fake rock that was on top of it.
I took that as a sign. I really don’t know what kind of sign it is. Hope? A sign that my mother lives on even when I thought she was gone? A simple sign of spring? I don’t know. But it’s something good.