Thursday, May 04, 2006

Hibiscus

*Photo courtesy of Webshots Community and pompilot



I met a man the other day. He was sitting on a bench outside a grocery store, watching the world pass by. He had the demeanor of a gentleman, and his posture was relaxed. Beside him was a display of ferns and hibiscus for sale, and I stopped to gaze over the plants. He opened a conversation with me.

It turns out that he was knowledgeable in growing plants and had some good advice with regards to hibiscus. In the course of the conversation, he admitted that he was particularly fond of hibiscus, because of the beautiful woman that lived next door to him when he was in his twenties, and her love for the plant.

"She was always outside tending to her garden in the spring. Between her yard and mine was a fence covered with hibiscus, clematis, honeysuckle.... It was the beautiful white hibiscus growing between us that first caught my attention.

It was an early summer day, much like today, and these wonderful white flowers were in full bloom just over the fence. I usually didn't spend much time at home - let alone in my backyard - what with work... but I was home this particular day and I was in the backyard mowing when I noticed them. I had never noticed the flower before, being twenty-seven and already knowing everything that life had to offer me.... But I stopped to stare at this beautiful flower.

I nearly jumped out of my skin when a tall slender and attractive woman stood up and looked me squarely in the face. I had seen my neighbor before, it's not that I didn't know her by sight, but I had never really looked at her. Here was this striking woman with laughter in her eyes and sun in her voice. She got to talking with me and it turns out she was intelligent, lively, fun to be with, and a green thumb.

Later on that year she brought me some summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and figs with me... all grown in her yard....

So you can believe me when I tell you that that hibiscus right there is the best one out here."

He pointed to a beautiful green plant with a few buds on it, but no flowers. Even so, I believed him.

"What happened to that wonderful woman on the other side of the fence?" I asked him as I picked up the potted plant and placed it in a cart.

He stood and stepped towards the parking lot. A smiling silver-haired woman came out of the store with a few bags of groceries. "What could I do, with a woman like that?" he asked, returning her smile. "I married her."

Watching them walk off I couldn't help but smile myself. I had no idea what I was going to do with the hibuscus - originally planning on purchasing a fern or two. I bought it anyway, figuring it would be wrong not to. Reading the care instructions on the tag in the pot, I noticed that it was destined to bloom beautiful white flowers. Suddenly I couldn't wait to get it home.

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