Flowers for the Soul

I bought flowers to plant on the balcony. Flowers are always good for lifting my spirits. As they brighten the balcony with their array of colors and sometimes even fragrances, so they brighten my mood.

But as I was planting my flowers, my mind returned to the past. I remembered how my late husband Ze’ev would lovingly make room for the new flowers in a pot or a planter. He would gently remove the flowers from their little plastic containers and carefully place them in the pot, making sure to give each one enough room to grow. With his loving care hardly a flower would wilt in its new home. Sadly, not so with me. Many of my little flowers fail to see the next week and many don’t even survive the night.

Those hearty survivors remind me of flowers from my childhood. Growing up in the city and without a garden, balcony or money to spend on flowers, our house never knew the beauty that flowers can add. Yet summers in our old dilapidated beloved Parksville home in the Catskill Mountains allowed us to experience the wonders of nature.

An abundance of wildflowers and weeds populated the hills behind our house. And as a child, that was where I loved to sit alone and dream of other worlds. It was easy to sit on one of the huge rocks in the shade of massive pine trees and be transported to a magical kingdom. Harry Potter wasn’t needed. It could happen on its own. And it did.

Sitting on my throne, with a crown of flowers upon my head, I was surrounded by my many subjects, hopping in the grass, tweeting in the trees or just crawling among the blades of grass.  I could hear the many voices of the orchestra that announced my arrival as my subjects gathered around. The moat surrounding my castle was protection against any unwanted visitors. This was my kingdom where I ruled every summer.

And then it happened. Just like that. One summer, I returned to my majestic domain, ready to resume my position of power. I eagerly climbed the hill and took my rightful place on my throne. Only it wasn’t. It was a big dirty rock and I even scratched my leg climbing onto it. My crown of flowers had to be shaken off my head for fear that it might dirty my just shampooed hair. My many subjects had become annoying bugs that stung and bit. Even my moat was nothing more than a tiny almost completely dried up creek. Where had it all gone?

The fantasy and imagination of childhood are replaced by adulthood along with responsibility and obligations. The loss of a loved one is never filled, though memories are a constant presence. And as I water the flowers on my balcony, I am thankful for their beauty and how they help alleviate the pain of both losses.

About the Author
Janet Goren grew up in the USA and has been living in Israel for more than fifty years. She raised her family here while teaching English in high school.
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