The timing of Valentine’s Day could not be better for this cake and candy girl. What do I mean exactly by “cake and candy girl”? I like my garden lush, my soil warm and rich with the texture and unforgettable fragrance of on-going composting. I like rain in almost any form, also hot sun and cool shade. Puffy clouds moved along by a good breeze-excellent. I like the sweet smell of hyacinth, tulip, mown grass, petunia, rose, and phlox. I like the sun-warmed taste of tomatoes. If there is a better perfume than basil, or rosemary, please let me know. I like my clay pots cooly dark and saturated with water. The process of evaporation-symphonic. I likewise look forward to my gravel crunching under my feet. I like a garden good enough to eat.
However, my thermometer has been glued on 24 degrees for days; the fogged sky is that color that ought to be known as Michigan miasma grey. Once in a while a dispirited snowflake falls like a lead sinker out the window. Restless doesn’t begin to describe that itch of mine that cannot be scratched. If you are a gardener, you will not think me excessively dramatic-just pitifully righteous. The dawn of Valentine’s Day-I am so ready. I am up at 5am, wondering what Buck has planned to dispell the winter gloom.
I must confess that I have certain preconceived notions, about which you should be advised. In my opinion, women have a sap gene that opens and rises every day and month, every year, regularly, predictably and reliably. Everyone they love gets caregiving, encouragement, nurturing, time, attention, genuine interest-pets regular as rain. In spite of this notion, these ideas do not wholly apply to my life. Buck is a man caregiver extraordinaire-he knows in an instant if my breathing changes; he goes on to ask what’s up. Likewise my landscape superintendent Steve-he notices everything, and better yet, he addresses everything. Sometimes with words, more regularly with deeds. So take my bluster about women with a grain of salt-there are more than a few good men out there.
But back to my day. I realized by 10 am that Valentine’s Day had never crossed Buck’s mind. In all fairness, he has been pretty busy looking after me. I know now why lots of people who get a knee replaced go to a rehab facility for a week or two. It is a lot of work, enabling the day for an injured person. He has taken time off, and committed to being spot on. He is available-he helps me-day in and day out. I see this all the time-in my community, in my country-but I have this at home now. Wow. He is busy, looking after me. I do not remember how Valentine’s day came up, but the shock on his face was clear for a moment before it disappeared.
He asked me what valentine would most make me happy-I could tell he was ready to deliver. This was easy-caramel ice cream and caramel sauce. A treat for this cake and candy girl. He came home some time later, hauling the caramel upstairs-but in his left hand, a dozen pink and white bicolor roses wrapped in waxed green tissue. I took a deep breath. My winter world is hard-oak flooring, plaster walls, porcelain sinks, stone counter tops, paint on canvas-you get the idea. Those roses, fresh and fragrant-they made my heart pound. Buck made me recut the stems myself. This is a good thing-no matter whatever knocks you over, any gesture to get back up and going is a good idea. I am back on my feet-sort of. These gorgeous roses now drinking in a vase in my office-divine.
Buck told me our local little florist some 4 blocks away was jammed today. Harry opened his shop on Valentine’s Sunday. The place was jammed with men, thinking at the last minute to rise to the occasion. Harry had chocolates, cards, and stuffed animals, in addition to his roses. Hilarious; Buck says he was doing a land office business today. Buck confessed he was just one of many men who were out today, shopping. For once, it amused him, and engaged him, to be in line to check out. He had company and community.
Aside from Buck’s floral shop experience, I am the delighted recipient. My dozen roses smell delicious, and are beautiful to look at. The buds are just opening; burgeoning. The foliage is glossy-live to the touch. These roses are so beautiful, I could weep. They are very different than the roses I grow in my garden. They hail from South America; it is a variety that grows well and blooms reliably under glass. No matter my skill as a gardener, I am grateful for my community florist. That entire industry made it possible for Buck to bring roses home to me-mid winter.
When Buck brings flowers home for me, I get animated. He is not the least bit discouraged by my gardening history. He has no problem bringing flowers home from the florist-why should he? I so love that he does this. Some friends are afraid to send me flowers-as I grow them. Though I live eat and breathe the flower world, one could never have too many. Please note-I love flowers. Any time. Any occasion. Did I say, for any reason?
Smitten I am, today. By flowers. By beautiful landscapes. By gardens. By gorgeous garden ornament. By Buck. By my hope for spring. Spring-soon. I so love my Valentine’s day roses; thank you Buck. The gardens-my garden-six weeks out. Spring-only six weeks away. Like I say, the timing of Valentine’s Day is good. I’ve had a little mid-winter thaw.