Sunday, June 1, 2014

Planting Optimism

Yesterday I was wandering up and down the rows of daisies, petunias, and impatiens at a local nursery.
I had already made one multi-million dollar trip for flowers, but I still needed tomato plants, cucumbers, and all the herbs I like to buy and then never use enough: rosemary, parsley, thyme, basil.

As usual, I came away with more than planned, a fact that my herniated disc made abundantly clear as I later planted and then scanned my small garden patch looking for one more open spot for the peppers and climbing snap peas I’d bought on impulse.

While at the garden center another shopper asked me if I’d seen any lettuce. I said I thought (in my limited knowledge of gardening) that it was a little late to be planting lettuce, but I aimed her toward a spot where I’d passed some. My search for basil brought me over to her again, where she was pondering red leaf versus Bibb lettuce. 

In the way that women will strike up conversations with total strangers, she asked me how she would know when the lettuce was ready to eat. I looked at the already full-sized leaves and said she could actually break out her salad bowl right away with these, that she could just snip what she wanted and it would grow back again. She thanked me and confided that she was buying lettuce because her doctor told her she needed more roughage in her diet.

I wondered to myself if that small pack of four lettuces she’d chosen would be enough to change the course of her dietary habits. 

In the next long Quonset hut-shaped greenhouse, I walked into a conversation between two women that included the phrase “stage four.”
“What kind?” the first woman asked.
“Lung, although it began in my breast.”
Uh oh, I thought. Not good. As a two-time survivor myself, I knew it wasn’t good if it traveled.

“How do you feel today?” asked the first woman.
She must have had some experience herself, I thought. She hadn’t asked the generic ‘how are you,’ but instead went specific with the use of ‘today’.
“Fine!” chirped the second lady. “I feel great today!”
“Well, I will put you in my prayers,” said the first woman.

They moved away, each off after her own plants.

The old expression about buying green bananas crossed my mind.

    I was glad the second lady was there in that bright greenhouse, surrounded by pink fuchsia and red geraniums and deep blue lobelia, buying beauty for her summer. 


  1. I hope she feels fine many more days and enjoys her garden. I hope she bought a tomato plant.

  2. Marty reading this post is like viewing a small slice of your life as you go about your day. My heart and prayers go out to that woman also. Here's to many more fine days for her.


    1. Yes, Jen. May her flowers grow tall and all be perennials.

  3. You moved your optimism story along very smartly. It's all about perspective. Cancer sufferers and survivors have a completely different perspective on life.

  4. It certainly can change you appreciation of each moment.

  5. Yes, in the face of uncertainty, we can eat well and surround ourselves with beauty to appreciate.


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