my mother wasn’t much of a gardener. she worked long hours and had a house to tend to, a child, some pets, so the out-of-doors were expected to take care of themselves.
when i was three or four and we were living in highland park, illinois, up by fort sheridan where my mother and father had been stationed, i picked all of the tulips that were blooming along the side of the house we were renting and brought the bouquet to my mother. although she said, “how beautiful,” i could tell by the look on her face that i’d made a mistake too, that flash of sadness in her eyes a reprimand.
someone picked the yellow rose that was blooming in our garden this week. there were two blooms and one is still there, i guess it’s consolation that at least one was left. i thought maybe that it was a deer that had plucked it, but the cut is too precise and there weren’t any other indications of wildlife (other blooming roses went left untouched–not the m.o. of any deer that i know.) i think i understand that look on my mother’s face now.