It wasn't much in time or money and I got a hot cup of joe to boot. Nice.
When I got back, I cleared the old flowers and weeds from the planters and refreshed the soil and placed the flowers carefully in their new home with a small green trowel. I used my fingers to snuggle the roots into the new bed firmly and finished all with a sprinkle of water. It was a pleasure and live flowers make vibrant gifts.
I also feel the gardening bug coming on in me. I grew up around gardeners (my mother is a good one) and always wondered if I'd take a turn at it myself some day. I think that day may be drawing close.
Maybe it's the parent in me now that makes this activity feel more than it used to, but there's something about brightly colored annuals that feel both precious and fleeting. I feel hope and worry and amazement all at once in those bits of loose soil under my nails and in the creases of my palms. It makes my heart ache like it has for friends that I know I'll only see for a day between long absences.
As we pulled out late last night for our trip home, I looked in quick succession in the rear view mirror at my children in their car seats and then beyond the front of the car where my mother in law stood by the door and the flowers. Fleeting thoughts passed through my mind as I steered and also made sure we were safe to drive out and away.
"Too short, too too short the time," I thought, "So much happens and goes in just a few moments - so much that must be forgotten so you can focus on the next thing."
But I know I'll remember yesterday. I'll remember my wife and her mother and my children laughing. I'll remember the drive to the garden store and for coffee. I'll remember the flowers and wonder.