Yesterday’s flowers

John sat down on the wooden bench in the garden.

The raw timbers felt rough on his legs, but the years of use had worn it down and made it comfortable and relaxing.

He looked down at his feet for a moment.

The wind brushed his face with a sweet scent created from all the open flowers.

He didn’t notice.

His eyes lifted, and rested on a stand of blood-red roses climbing a trellis.

“They’re not as full as last year,” he muttered to himself. “Last year’s garden was better.”

A bird’s hopeful song touched his ear.

He didn’t notice.

His mind was still on last year’s garden.

“I should’ve watered more,” he said. “It was a hot summer.”

The angled light of the evening touched the flowers differently, but each pedal seemed to create its own color and light. As if they were gathering the light and shining it back out for this man to see before the day reached its end.

He didn’t notice.

“Maybe this garden is too much work,” he wondered. “Maybe it’s not worth the time anymore.”

Groups of honeybees jumped from flower to flower, their legs filled with pollen. Their buzzing gave the air an electric feel.

He didn’t notice.

He looked down at his feet again.

The wind blew, harder this time.

And he noticed the sound of plant brushing against plant.

He lifted his eyes, and thought for a moment the flowers were all dancing.

He watched, amused, at the thought.

He noticed the brightness of the colors. They were the regular colors, but better somehow.

He spotted the bees struggling to get home with the weight of their day’s work.

He heard a pair of bird flush from the back of the garden, flying toward an evening roost.

A deep fragrance touched his nose, and he breathed in as deep as he could.

“Last year’s garden was good,” he said. “But this garden – this garden – has something I can’t quite explain.”

He stood and walked away from the bench, and paused at the trellis of roses.

Up close, he could each one clearly. His hands moved from bloom to bloom, raising it slightly to his nose, and each breath opened his eyes wider.

Trying to chose just one to pluck, he noticed how roses had hidden themselves in the vinework.

His eyes set on one. It seemed the perfect shape, full with silky petals. He swore he could smell this one rose from an arm’s length away.

He reached for it, and gently cut it from the masses, and rested the stem in his hand. He slowly spun it to see it from all sides.

“Yes,” he said. “This is the one.”

“Yesterday’s garden was good,” he thought. “But it didn’t give me this rose.”

He gave a last look at the garden. The light was dim now, but the flowers still glowed.

He looked down at the rose in his hand as he turned to leave.

And he smiled.



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