It’s the time of year when you learn what survived the winter and what didn’t.
You see the bare patch in the flowerbed and you know something got to it;
the frost, the hail, the strong wind, the downed branch, the hungry squirrel, the neighbor’s dog, the curious raccoon, that stray cat.
You see the snapped stem and that flower is never going to bloom. Cut short by
the hungry squirrel, the curious raccoon, the kids
who had to catch the football, capture the flag, retrieve the shuttlecock.
The plant is not coming back and you are left with a bare patch.
Every year there is a bare patch.
Every year it is something.
My grieving time for the patch is proportional to the amount I invested in the initial planting;
the $20 rosebush,
the $15 endangered native lily,
the $8 heirloom Dutch tulip,
The $5 perennial starter pack,
the one cent larkspur seed.
But whatever it was I had hoped it would be, it’s never going to be
no matter how many tears I shed, or teeth I grind, or hairs I pull.
Every year there is something
that leaves a no thing
in the flowerbed.
After I’ve wrung my hands and whispered a curse
I’ll begin to appreciate the ones who did survive winter and the associated environmental risk factors.
I’ll be grateful for those tremulous blooms.
And when I’m ready, I’ll plant anew
in the bare patch in the flowerbed.