My editor directed me – stay on after the night beat. She sent me on
assignment to an outdoor garden show held at our local home store. I
could purchase anything from a tractor down to boxes of toothpicks. I
thought glumly that a cup of coffee might be what I needed, but, first
I knew nothing of flowers so I hoped that I might cobble a photo essay
together using the names that were probably posted to identify them. She
was standing beside the first row and I noticed her when I glanced up to
seek a sales associate.
Her hair, pale as the flower of the Belladonna and wonderfully the color
of the mist shrouded sun as it rises in the distance of a warm summer’s
morning. if touched, it might feel like the softness of the Hydrangea, its
closely packed groupings of blossoms taunted and beckoned to me with
it’s wonderful fullness. I noticed a few berries of this plant and having
pocketed one I was determined to test its sweetness.
Her face gazed upon the world with a stoic calm reserved for visiting
dignitaries. her eyes seemed to float like the flowers of the Wild Rose
upon its green leafy bed as the wind moves gently across their faces. I
admired her serene smile and impish charm that seemed to foundation
her facial features.
She stood straight as the Malva plant or Hollyhock she did seem a little
aloof or perhaps I factored wrong, and she might not be comfortable in
this place. When she turned her profile to me I immediately snapped off
a picture in her direction. her body was framed right and left with the
multicolored flowers stacked row upon row. I thought that if I could ask
her for assistance she might reward me with information on these plants;
I approached her.
Her lips were pretty, and her chin and soft cheekbones were a wonderful
contrast that gave her a sun kissed glow. She was wearing a soft cotton
smock and leggings that ended just past her calves. bare legs and soft
pink/green plaid canvas shoes adorned her feet. Gentle eyes were softly
surveying me when she said, “Hello, do you work here?”
“No. I was hoping you might help me, my eyes twinkled smiling, my
name is Anthony and I work for the local Sentinel newspaper.”
“What would a local reporter find interesting at a home store?”
“Ah, that is what eludes me but I hope to appease my boss by making a
photo essay from the flowers that are for sale here. If you would kindly
go with me for a short walk around it might make things easier for me,
however, I do not wish to trouble you.”
“My name is Amber. I have some purchases to make and I do not wish
for the stock to be swept up and sold. If you wish to accompany me then
by all means you are welcome.” she looked at me with a firmness that
said she would not accept any compromise.
I agreed and reached into my pocket. Bringing out the dark berry I eyed
it for critters, sniffed it and prepared to pop it into my mouth.
“Stop!” she said and many patrons turned to see what the commotion
“Pardon, what is wrong?” I said visibly shaken.
“Do know what you are holding in your hand?” she queried.
“It is just a berry from a plant over there; it looks tasty although the
smell leaves a lot to be desired.
“Hmm, if I told you it was poisonous would you still try it?”
“As a reporter I am curious of just about everything.” I hedged.
“Please hand it to me.” The reporters stubborn streak reared its head;
“it is mine, and I am going to try it out.” But I felt compelled and handed
the berry to Amber.
“You are about to learn something about flowers that not many people
live to tell about.” Squeezing the berry just enough to release a tiny drop
of the dark liquid she let some rest upon her index finger and placed it
against my lips to taste.
I let my lips rest against her thumb and index finger and gently probed
the liquid from her hand. If she noticed that I also kissed her hand she
did not react but I am sure she felt the suction because of the soft plop
that even I heard. She withdrew her hand and with a look of ages old
wisdom sadly asked, “is this what flowers mean to you?”
“No, it is merely the establishment of a link that reaches across the
distance to those that I care deeply about. Also those who have shown
me a kind gesture or a gentle touch via computer. It is by words that I
see as I read. Sometimes it’s from what I feel is going through my heart
at the given moment.” I wrinkled my nose at the bitterness of the fluid.
The difficulty of trying to explain my heart was more than anything I
had ever bargained for. My heart began to beat faster, my skin felt
clammy and the color drained from my face. I began to see red and a
sizzling sound was droning in my ears. Gasping for breath I reached out
for her but she was, though I was totally unaware, propping me up
She guided me to a bench that because of the Peony vines with flowers
running across it, held a sign which said please do not sit. We sat. I
leaned against her as she looked at me with concern in her eyes and a
mixture of mirth. “You are so silly. Slow news day,” she asked.
I nodded in the affirmative and smiled weakly, “I am a dork. Do you
forgive me, people are watching.”
She did not leave my face with her gaze for an instant. I will if you
promise to forgive yourself.” Then she smiled and I realized my life
would never be the same. She bade me sit and rest, telling me that she
must hurry to pick out her choice beauties, she promised to return and
check on me. She said she might take some of the pictures for me of
some of the flowers and this sealing her return I thanked her and handed
her my camera.
My mind drift was drifting. I seemed to hear and see all the words
everyone was saying and see the musical stanzas as the piped in
background music pumped out its melodious notes. Fragrant smells
became visible objects as my brain labored against the same movements
and undulations as though I were cared upon a swift moving river.
Smells of fresh water seemingly everywhere caused the occasional
moisture to caress my face like the moist lips of a hungry lover.
I was floating along as though in a dream. I thought I saw a beautiful
young woman walking along a beach wearing a pink lounger and
following close, a small but eager child who was bouncing along after
I saw a raven haired desert beauty totally at peace with the natural order
of her surroundings and walked in the desert not unlike the Native
Peoples of an earlier era.
In another I saw this wonderful sun kissed beauty that challenged my
concepts of persuasion and limited my ability to give a simple answer to
a complex question.
Still in another I saw my own people as spiritualists who sought only to
live in harmony with life, all within it, but were beaten and chased away
from the land they loved and the natural order they had for thousands of
years cultivated and come to understand.
I could not as yet determine my own fate, perhaps I have no right to live
in harmony with all, and perhaps chaos must be established to effect
serenity. I do not know but I am willing to learn.
I saw the beautiful lady who bore my camera away as a bouquet of
Hydrangea…soft, comforting, caressing my face gently and fragrant to
my senses. I settled myself on the bench and waited for my teacher and
benefactress to return.