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Wanted: flowers

Each day offers a surprise. I work part-time at a local flower shop. It is a family owned business and an easy bike ride to work (if I chose to ride a bike). They are very conscientious with reducing their waste. Flower waste averages close to 20% and sometimes more. Occasionally, some flowers reach the point in their lives that they are no longer marketable. Meaning, the seller has to clear space for a new plant that will sell.

Driving the tractor and moving holiday supplies, a co-worker walked by me with a tray of plants. I happened to be in the right place at the right time. She was headed to her car with something we both perceived as valuable. She asked me if I would like one of the plants.

I chose this Kalanchoe. It was like receiving a dozen eggs from my local farmer, or getting a jar of honey from a friend who has bees, or trading a cabbage from my neighbor for some mushrooms. You get the picture. This was a gift from the earth, transferred by the hands of another human, and delivered to me.

As I write this, I can see the escapee plant by the window, thriving in the December sun and drier soil. The red, yellow and pink blossoms will soon pass. But with patience and trust, it will rebloom. All I have to do is remind this plant that it is wanted by me, give it some water if the top two inches of the soil are dry and simply get out of the way (and not overwater).

I am not a real gardener. I like to pretend mostly. I drive a tractor, interact with plants and mushrooms (another side business I do) and spend time in the greenhouses absorbing the warmth, the smells, the textures, and the radiance of flowers. They, the flowers, serve us by asking nothing in return except to be displayed and shared.

My co-worker friend did not plan to give me this Kalanchoe plant at that instant. The plant was what bound us together. Like a drug deal without drugs, we made an exchange and both walked away with something valuable for our homes, our souls. Wanted: flowers.

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