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Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Bill Plant...

Life is weird. Happy, sad and confusing.

What makes me say that? Well, it's because of Bill's plant.

Bill was my boss at the flower shop. He was a friend, he was like family, and Bill, well Bill is gone.

He passed away a little over a year ago. I have many, many, many moments of sadness because of this loss. I don't think time heals this type of pain. I think it just makes it a little fuzzy...but not any less painful.

Tonight, I had a visit from sadness.

I was sad because I know that every start of spring, is bittersweet for me.

Bill was a gardener true and true. He planted two hundred bulbs a year. He won the garden contest in his town. He had the best and biggest tomatoes. He lived for the site of new life.

One afternoon, I gave Bill a ride home. Bill walked home every day, but never ever took a ride. This day, we had to go to a trade show and it was just the two of us. For some strange reason, when we got back to the shop, he accepted my ride.

When we pulled up, he said, come to my garden. I want to give you some plants. And he sure did. A piece of this, a bit of that, in true gardener's fashion. I had a whole bag of bits and parts of plants sharing my ride home with me. That night I planted everything.

There was one ground cover that I really loved. He had said, this stuff is great and it will grow everywhere. I had a big backyard and I thought, this would look beautiful in scattered places.

Time went by, and life built me a different path. That big backyard, well, it was no longer going to be mine. I was leaving the house, and I would be leaving my plants behind.

Well, not all of them.

You see, I went back to the house before it was sold, and took some of Bill's ground cover...and a little bit of mint. I don't know why I took those particular things, but I did.

I planted Bill's ground cover, in front of my new apartment in June. Bill died the following November.

In February, I moved again. We were buying a house. And the day Tom and I packed up, we had no room for the flower pot that held some pieces of Bill's plant.

Tom went back the next day and got it for me.

We saved those pieces until the springtime, unplanted, they sat in the pot. And they lived.

And so here we were starting a new life, in a new place. I had brought with me very little material items from my past. But, there was Bill's plant.

When spring sprung, we were so excited...I finally had a place to plant again. Tom had a home of his own. It was the first time, in a long time, that I felt the peace I had found in gardening. And that is when I saw it.

Bill's plant. No, not the one I had brought with me. But the plant that had already been here. The same variety of ground cover that Bill gave me was the same variety of ground cover that was popping up in all different spots all over the yard. We couldn't believe it.

I had carried these green sprigs of hope with me, not ever fully knowing why until that moment. I had carried those plants around with me, thinking they were my connection to Bill. But I was wrong. I didn't need the plants. They were already here. Just like Bill is.

It really isn't about the plants.

Today, when I saw those green swirls looking up at me from the dark dirt, I smiled. Smiled sadly, because Bill won't be planting his 200 tulips this year. But then I smiled, with my heart, because I know Bill will be helping me plant mine.

Life is weird. Happy, sad and confusing. But sometimes it makes perfect sense.

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