Why Flowers Beat Snowdrifts

            This won’t come as a shock to anyone who knows me, but I love spring. To paraphrase some action movie or other: Winter is the disease, and spring is the cure. Summer is that wild celebration you throw when you realize the disease is going to strike again, so you might as well party.

            This being Indiana, there could be a foot of snow on the ground by the time you read this, but at the moment it’s been pretty nice in between the thunderstorms. Wait, let me check …

            Yup. Sleeting. But in the spring it won’t last long, as opposed to in early winter when snow is some kind of permanent nightmarish superglue. Nobody ever froze to death in a thunderstorm, unless they hid in a chest freezer. That would freeze your chest.

            The only bad things about warm weather are pollen and bugs, and pollen can be medicated. I like to think of allergies as a luxury tax for being able to walk outside wearing less than eight layers of clothing.

            One of the first signs of spring – other than any part of my skin being seen outdoors – is the appearance of budding plants and flowers. That burst of color, a visual shock after months of white and various shades of dirty gray, does more to cheer me than all the chocolate in Hershey.

This is nothing to sneeze at. Actually, it is.


            Maybe you could say my love of spring is like a red, red rose. I came up with that all by myself, honest. Well, I stole it all by myself.

            I need to see that color outside, because inside I’m the kiss of death for a plant. There’s a graveyard of flower pots in my garage, sad rows full of bare earth and dead, dry stalks. In the plant community I’m known as the Mark Horseman of the Apocalypse. The last time I walked through a botanical garden, twelve species went extinct.

            I’m the Darth Vader of plants; I just choke them out.

            And yet, just outside the house, plants thrive. Like the spiders who invade my home every year, they live for the thrill of being near danger. Mind you, I had no idea what those plants were, until I found a phone app to identify them.

            According to the internet, the various plants around my house include:

            Lilacs, which produce one of the most wonderful scents since fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. I bought lilac scented laundry detergent over winter, but it just wasn’t the same.

“I wish Mark would get out of the way so I get a picture of the lilacs.”

            Narcissus, a variety of daffodil. Narcissus sounds so much more exotic and interesting, though. Narcissus is also a character from Greek myth who fell in love with his own reflection, and thus is a hero to many in Hollywood. Things ended badly for Narcissus; but then, the Greeks wrote tragedies, not comedies.

            Tulips, a flower that first came from Holland, Michigan. Some people from the Netherlands visited Michigan, and so fell in love with the flower that they made it their own and also nicknamed their country Holland, which seems like some kind of intellectual theft, to me. But revenge smells sweet: For a time tulips became so valuable in the Netherlands that they replaced the national currency, then their entire economy crashed when some kid took his thumb out of the dike, looked around, and said:

            “Dude. They’re flowers.”

            At the moment my tulips are in hiding, waiting to see if I go crazy with the lawn mower or weed spray. However, a line of eye-poppingly colorful flowers eye-popped up against the neighbor’s house, where presumably they’re safe from me. Silly flowers.

“Just stay closed until he goes away.”


            Then there’s forsythia, a bush that sprouted some bright yellow blossoms. Someone told me I shouldn’t trim the forsythia, but it grows so fast that one of its branches once stabbed me in the leg as I innocently walked by with the garden sheers. One year I didn’t trim it at all, and a film crew came by and paid me a hundred bucks to use it in their low-budget monster movie, “Attack of the Sixty Foot Sythia”. I don’t know what they left out the “for” for, except maybe that “S” sound is scarier: Stormtrooper; Scythe; Senator …

            I also have some roses, but as of this writing they haven’t bloomed. Maybe they’re standing by with the tulips. Waiting. Plotting.

            Oh, and dandelions – how could I forget dandelions? Weeds, you say? Nonsense! They’re harmless and colorful, they make necklaces and wine, and what the heck is wrong with that? Those are flowers, believe it; the narcissus lovers are just jealous.

            In any case, any bloom that doesn’t immediately kill you is better than a snowdrift.

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