I slow down as I turn the corner and scan Lake Abby. Something dark floats at the far end. Not a goose. Maybe a mallard. But I can’t be sure. It looks black.
I smash forefoot to floor, fly down asphalt, jerk wheel to left, spin gravel in drive, and ram gear into park. When I throw open the door, it slams back on my ankle. The camera’s on the kitchen table. I grab it, kick off flip flops and slip into muck boots, then race back up to the pond.
The duck, or whatever, is gone.
But the way the light ripples across chopped cattails fascinates me. Redwing blackbirds perch on remaining stalks. Swallows dip and dive over the water. I squish closer to the edge, step over deer prints, try to decipher the songs of frogs or maybe toads that mingle with the birds. I wonder what happened to the geese couple. Mama spent a lot of time close to the “shore” on the east side, and I found broken eggs near there a couple weeks ago. But no babies.
I don’t have time to hang out here, but when I turn to go, I note the lilacs along the lane are in bloom. How did I miss that? Spring has exploded.
I remember the first weekend I came home with D. It was in May, and we’d only been dating for a couple weeks. We sat thigh-to-thigh and knee-to-knee on the bench seat of his company car as we drove down country roads, and I told him how much I loved lilacs. That they were my favorite flowers, and I wanted several around my house some day. I never guessed his family lilacs would one day be mine. I pull stems down, inhale the fragrance, pick a few stems for a Mason jar. I take them home and set the bouquet on the windowsill above the kitchen sink.
I need to run to the store for bread and milk, but I park too close to the garden entrance, and my artist, she pulls me toward the colors. I try to resist, but the breeze blows, and the sun’s warm, and she’s too strong. So we walk up and down the rows, sniff sweet cinnamon scents, stroke velvet petals and leathery leaves, read tags tucked in dirt. The smells carry phantom memories of the past that I can’t quite place.
I imagine a yard full of color and wish someone would come plant for me and keep it all alive. I fill a cart with red and white geraniums, white petunias, some airy white flowers called Diamond Frost Euphorbia graminea (heat tolerant, drought tolerant, and deer resistant.) And finally a small flat of red and white Torenia fournieri, “a compact, upright annual with lipped flowers and smooth foliage with toothed leaves.”
I pay, tie my artist to the cart, and push it to the car. I shove aside the soccer bag, softball bag, and bagged chairs, fill the back with fragrance. Then I retrieve a mini cart from the corral and pull it behind me as I push the garden buggy back. My artist insists on coming along, threatens a tantrum if she can’t.
We enter the store from the garden entrance and find ourselves in the grill aisle. I’ve needed new tools for a couple years, so we look everything over and pick out a spatula and tongs and a silicone baster and a grill rack for veggies. Then I decide I should consider some way to store them in the garage, so off we go to the home storage section—which happens to be right next to the wild bird supply aisle. I remember I need new measuring spoons in the housewares area—and they’re on sale. Along with a whole bunch of other stuff, and we keep stuffing the cart.
Now I’m really hungry, so the bread and milk turns into watermelon and blackberries and blueberries and strawberries and Vidalia onions and hummus, and…
So two hours later we, my artist and I, having shared an unexpected date morning, we go home, and I have lunch.
And then I remember we need cat food.
Still sniffing flowers,
Linking with this week’s Artist Day post by Laura Boggess over at Tweetspeak Poetry
And in community with Emily