Aw, fudge, ' floated down to me, as a couple of golden eyes peered over a third-floor window ledge. 'You're a freaking dhampir. Why are you reading Tolkien?' I shrugged, then had to dodge the potted geranium he threw at me. 'After five hundred years, you've read just about everything. Besides, he had hella world-building skills.
Aw, fudge,' floated down to me, as a couple of golden eyes peered over a third-floor window ledge. 'You're a freaking dhampir. Why are you reading Tolkien?' I shrugged, then had to dodge the potted geranium he threw at me. 'After five hundred years, you've read just about everything. Besides, he had hella world-building skills.
Flo Owens: You liked him, didn't you Helen? Helen Potts: Yes, I did. I got so used to things as they were: Everything so prim, the geranium in the window, the smell of mama's medicines. And then he walked in, and it was different! He clomped through the place like he was still outdoors. There was a man in the place and it seemed good!
A flower is a daisy chain, a graduation, a valentine; a flower is New Year's Eve and an orchid in your hair; a flower is a single geranium blooming in a tin can on a murky city fire-escape; an acre of roses at the Botanical Gardens; and the first gold crocus of spring! ... a flower is a birth, a wedding, a leaving of this life.
In my own worst seasons I've come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full, dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learned to be in love with my life again. Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, I have taught myself joy, over and over again(15).
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. This natural beauty-hunger is made manifest in the little window-sill gardens of the poor, though perhaps only a geranium slip in a broken cup, as well as in the carefully tended rose and lily gardens of the rich, the thousands of spacious city parks and botanical gardens, and in our magnificent National parks "" the Yellowstone, Yosemite, Sequoia, etc. "" Nature's sublime wonderlands, the admiration and joy of the world.
The Geranium When I put her out, once, by the garbage pail, She looked so limp and bedraggled, So foolish and trusting, like a sick poodle, Or a wizened aster in late September, I brought her back in again For a new routine - Vitamins, water, and whatever Sustenance seemed sensible At the time: she'd lived So long on gin, bobbie pins, half-smoked cigars, dead beer, Her shriveled petals falling On the faded carpet, the stale Steak grease stuck to her fuzzy leaves. (Dried-out, she creaked like a tulip.) The things she endured!- The dumb dames shrieking half the night Or the two of us, alone, both seedy, Me breathing booze at her, She leaning out of her pot toward the window. Near the end, she seemed almost to hear me- And that was scary- So when that snuffling cretin of a maid Threw her, pot and all, into the trash-can, I said nothing. But I sacked the presumptuous hag the next week, I was that lonely.
The making of gardens and parks goes on with civilization all over the world, and they increase both in size and number as their value is recognized. Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. This natural beauty-hunger is made manifest in the little windowsill gardens of the poor, though perhaps only a geranium slip in a broken cup, as well as in the carefully tended rose and lily gardens of the rich, the thousands of spacious city parks and botanical gardens, and in our magnificent National Parks-the Yellowstone, Yosemite, Sequoia, etc.-Nature's sublime wonderlands, the admiration and joy of the world. Nevertheless, like anything else worth while, from the very beginning, however well guarded, they have always been subject to attack by despoiling gain-seekers and mischief-makers of every degree from Satan to Senators, eagerly trying to make everything immediately and selfishly commercial, with schemes disguised in smug-smiling philanthropy, industriously, sham-piously crying, "Conservation, conservation, panutilization, " that man and beast may be fed and the dear Nation made great. Thus long ago a few enterprising merchants utilized the Jerusalem temple as a place of business instead of a place of prayer, changing money, buying and selling cattle and sheep and doves; and earlier still, the first forest reservation, including only one tree, was likewise despoiled. Ever since the establishment of the Yosemite National Park, strife has been going on around its borders and I suppose this will go on as part of the universal battle between right and wrong, however much of its boundaries may be shorn, or its wild beauty destroyed.