Anticipation (Or why delayed gratification is good for the soul)

Sorry for this old post appearing first. Somehow, I deleted it by mistake (I swear this was a WordPress glitch, not mine). But, fortunately for me, Google had a cached version that I was able to copy and paste into a new post. So, here we go again. (Lost the comments though). Newer posts follow this one. Sheesh.

My sister, the green thumb of the family, whose window boxes just won first prize in the neighborhood competition (an urban neighborhood where window boxes and sidewalk pots rule), got me an interesting plant for my birthday last year. A hardy hibiscus with the lofty name “Mighty Big Pink.” It was past its prime at the time (in October), little more than a few leaves on a stalk, so all I could do was plant it and hope for the best.

After a slow start where I feared Mighty didn’t survive the winter, he eventually perked up to look me square in the chest. And he’s sporting several enticing buds — the promise of Mighty-Big-Pink glory. Someday.

For weeks now, he’s been taunting me with those buds. Weeks. Taunting.

My sister keeps asking, “Has it bloomed yet? I’ve had beautiful white ones — dinner plate size — and rust ones, and now the red one is blooming…”

“No,” I say, “I just have buds.”

I can’t even tell if they really will be Mighty. Or Big. Or Pink.

And so I wait, ever-vigilant for attacking beetles or slugs or our latest squatter, a groundhog (who obviously approves of the revamped shed because she moved right into the basement apartment) — any menace who might spoil the unveiling.

If you garden, this is the drill. You watch and you wait. Is that the first hint of green? Are those buds? Blossoms? Fruit? Will those papery balls turn into glorious daffodils? Will all that digging and composting and mulching and pruning and planting and moving really transform into the garden of my dreams?

Sometimes, no. Seeds don’t take. Bunnies nip buds. Frost nips blossoms. Chippies and squirrels foil bulbs. Transplants whither. Mighty Big Pinks turn out to be mighty big flops.

But not this time. One of these days, Mighty will have his day in the sun, and I’ll have the treasure I buried last October. I just have to wait…a little…while…longer…

Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.
                                      ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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