A little splurge, a little light, a little color, a little sharing--Christmas. Swung into the garden store on the way to the Albertsons. No one around except two elves. All the poinsettias and frosted natural trees had been retrieved earlier.
The long tables of pansies, primroses, ornamental cabbage, and cyclamen glowed against the gray sky outside the clear plastic roof. Raindrops began to tap on that plastic, more and more, and then it's a downpour. Such a silly moment. Two young women in knit caps and parkas watering all these plants and drinking Starbucks. Me with one each yellow, golden, and blue violet pansy pot in my arms, unable to resist a miniature pink cyclamen.
We need color and light and laughter at the darkest time of the year. How ancient is that need? Does it predate the human harnessing of fire? Is there a biological imperative for color and light? Is it psychological? I'm no scientist, but an artist fond of black, charcoal, gray, and white. Still I need the spot of red that is the cardinal among the snow-covered branches.
For a moment I wonder if these young elves have the best job on earth. My four little plants are in a brown paper sack. The elf offers me a cardboard box to hold over my head. She even offers to help me carry my purchase. No need for us both to get soaked.
We wish each other a Merry Christmas and I head to the parking lot under my box. The wind is catching it, and I've forgotten to get the car keys out of my purse. Not a scientist AND not a juggler! Rain is running down my nose. I hope the elves are laughing, too. Six dollars very well spent.
© 2010 Nancy L. Ruder