It was on a crisp day last fall, perfect for a morning walk. I was in a good mood to begin with and chose a route that goes along the light rail near my house because it allows me to be in the sun most of the walk. I was crossing the street and out of the corner of my eye noticed a clump of plants in the middle of the road. As I got closer, I could tell that it was a bunch of zinnias, roots still hanging from the ends of the plants. I had seen some landscape workers changing out annual flower beds in front of the office building I had just passed. The zinnias probably fell off of the garbage mound from their truck as they made their way to another section of the complex. It seemed wrong to just leave the plants in the street, as I knew they would be eventually trampled by oncoming cars. As I gathered them up and placed them on the grass median at the corner of the street, I could tell that a lot of the flowers were still alive and perky. Blossoms of orange, magenta, white and red still expressing their life. I hatched the happy plan to make up a few small arrangements (I confess that I have a little problem resisting small bud vases and therefore have quite a few). Since I wasn’t that far into my walk, I figured I’d continue as planned and just double back on my way home to collect my find.
I felt happy and lucky. Lately I have been more committed to consciously using my senses to ground me and therefore be more present, and have been rewarded for my effort. I also like the concept of recycling. Here was the literal embodiment of the idiom of one man’s trash being another woman’s treasure. And, zinnias are one of my favorite flowers. It delights me that the stamens at the center look like multiple little yellow flowers within each zinnia.
As I headed back to the corner at the end of my walk, I saw the landscaping truck pull up. A worker got out, picked up my zinnias and tossed them in the heap of other discarded annuals on the back of the truck. A little give up briefly came over me and I almost did nothing. The bad habit of shutting down instead of acting when faced with an obstacle momentarily froze me, like a wet blanket on a spark. But then I came to my senses and realized I had nothing to lose, and that I should at least make an effort to follow through with my original plan. I started waving my arms and called out to the truck. The driver stopped, and I explained that I wanted the flowers, could I please have them? The half-smile and sideways glances between the men told me they were amused that anyone would want their garbage, but the driver nodded and gave me permission to have them back.
When I got home, I had enough flowers to make up four small vases: one each for my ex- partner’s and my office, one for our lobby, and one for a client I was seeing that day who had been having a particularly difficult time. I felt such joy the whole day.
What woman doesn’t like being sent flowers?