Rachel's Flowers

Rachel's Flowers

By Terri Cheney

The neighbor on the corner dumps household trash in her yard and the roads which pass her house. Bottles, cans, and paper, carelessly dropped, litter the place. Each time the road scraper comes through, trash is pushed up and down the two roads. The neighbor, Rachel, doesn't seem to care. Those of us who live nearby rant and rave as we dig the cans and bottles from the roadside in front of our own, more neatly kept, houses.

I think of Rachel, as I grumblingly work my way down to the roadside to remove this week's accumulation of litter. The road is muddy, and mucky, and wet. I am weak and tired. The influenza has been in our home for over a month now. We've taken it in turns, and two of our family has had relapses. There's little anyone can do or say that doesn't spark a sharp comment, or criticism. The extra cold medications we've required have strained our budget. And no matter how sick we are work, laundry, meals, and picking up the roadside, demand to be taken care of, as well.

But a flash of yellow, on the corner near Rachel's, catches my eye. I struggle up the road to look more closely and find myself smiling. Forsythia blazes there, and daffodils.

Flowers in the yard For this same neighbor has flowers that bloom in profusion. Flowers which bloom earlier, and fuller, and last longer than any others. Flowers that lift the spirit with color and fragrance, and cause neighbors to ask eagerly, "Did you see Rachel's forsythia?" "Have you seen Rachel's roses?" Flowers that cause us to forget the litter in the yard. Their beauty lifts us, and we are filled with wonder.

I am thankful for my neighbor, who litters our roadside and lifts our spirits with her bright blooms. I feel stronger, somehow, looking at that forsythia and bunch of daffodils, nodding their heavy head in the breeze. It is what I need to remind me that spring is near, gray clouds will part. I need reminding, too, that this time of sickness, heartache, and struggle is a season, that will pass as surely as that forsythia blooms each winter, just before spring.

Somehow, I feel stronger, more able to be kind than when I struggled down to the roadside, grumbling and complaining. And I shall wear a smile back into the house thinking of daffodils, forsythia, and sunshine, and the hope of all the blooming flowers to come.

Terri Cheney (C)2001

About the author:

Terri Cheney is a writer, wife, and mother. She enjoys reading, gardening, and cooking. She can be found blowing bubbles, flying kites, and sitting on her front porch, enjoying the natural beauty of her surroundings. Email comments to tea_cee1@yahoo.com


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