the flower house

It was a day last autumn and I was tucking away the vegetable beds, well before I decided that I was going to start growing flowers to share.  The usual parade of neighborhood wanderers was on and there were cheerful hellos and pets for good dogs – a daily occurrence in our little corner of Portland.  At one point a stroller packed with twin girls rolled by with their nanny and there was such concern that the flowers were going away.  I was told that they walk by at least once a day and that for the whole summer they referred to our little house as “The Flower House.”  They would ask to come see it every time they set out.  I was so touched, so I ran to the back of the house to the big nightmare of an overgrown wildflower patch and threw together two small matching, but not identical posies.  As they passed by on the way back from their adventures, each little one got a small bouquet of flowers to take home.

For some reason this memory popped into my head today as I sent a bunch of flowers home with a neighbor.  I missed the mark in so many ways this year – the soil is better, but still mess, the weed pressure was unreal, the dahlia patch is definitely doing something weird (10 foot plants??), squirrels, weak seedlings, not enough fertilizer, rust and mildew, it goes on and on.  But I didn’t miss every mark, and beautiful flowers have headed out to make people happy.

I just wrote an email to a local business to see if for the last month of the growing season they would like to stock a few bouquets of hyper local flowers.  They may never respond, and that’s fine.  The scariest part is the sending of the email.  The shadow that sits in the corner at all times keeps repeating “exactly who do you think you are?”  Music, teaching, graphic design, brand management, consulting – all of it.  The shadow sits and judges and sows doubt.  This time there’s a pretty simple response that shuts it up.  “I’m just Colleen.  I grow flowers.”

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