Sunday, September 30, 2007


City Wide Florist, says the sign in faded green letters, kitty corner to the cemetery's entrance. This flower shop has been here for as long as I can remember. On weekends, no matter what the weather, a small tray of fake flowers stands outside.

A closer look reveals a silver, plastic Jesus who rested in the center of each bouquet. Encased behind the store's glass windows stand the taller, grander arrangements. They crowd the window facing out towards the street, silent reminders of what a person can leave behind on the grave of a loved one.

The glass door also obscures the shop's interior. And so it felt eerie to walk in and see all the flowered crosses in faint purples, greens, yellows, blues and pinks hanging from the ceiling in the dark, airless room. Boxes covered the floor with more fake flowers, subtle variations of the same arrangement. Each box had a white card stapled to it and hand-written, Trelis, $17.50; Altar, $15.50; Grandpa, $24.50; Angel, $14.50. Only one light, a florescent tube, shone, over the empty counter.

A greeting brought its proprietor to her feet. But she shook her head about sharing anything about her business, its history, its stories. Perhaps this is the effect of years of tending to other people's losses.

Spring and Fall: To a Young Child

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie.
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

– Gerard Manley Hopkins


Anonymous Anonymous said...

She may be unwilling to share simply because she herself has suffered a great period of mourning when her own child passed away after a tragic accident years ago.

1:00 PM  

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