Last year I bought three cheap mums; 79 cents each. My thought was that they would hold the yellow of summer's sun a little longer into the darkening months, lending and extending cheer to my not-ready-to-give-up-summer soul. Surely they'd freeze, sad but true. Our colder than average winter last year left little hope for an encore performance.
But nope. I was wrong. The first plants to welcome spring were the mums.
They grew and grew and grew and become huge.
(The little pot of last year's flowers in the top photo is the same pot on the left in the photo below.)
Through the heat of summer I watered and de-slugged faithfully.
"They'll be pretty in the fall."
Little did I know the comfort they'd be. Not only offering flower color but softness, fragrance, and a certain, unmistakable bid to hug. Yes, I said hug. See, there are so many blossoms per bush that one becomes transfixed while gazing at them when standing close by. You just want to wrap your arms gently around them as though holding a humongous bouquet or better yet, lying blissfully belly-down in a field of perfectly formed friendly flowers.
There I was one warm morning, alone, the hug-urge strong while the usual sheepishness hovered. I couldn't help myself. I bent down, I spread my arms and flower-hugged the mums. My nose dipped down and breathed in their loveliness while my face smiled at the petals' softness. Luxury! Wonder! Sheepishness gone, this was a really really pure sweet human-being moment.
Hugs have since been beckoned on many more occasions. Indulgence nearly every time.
Imagine my surprise when first Caroline then Cassie said, "You just want to hug those mums!"
Imagine their surprise when I said, "Go ahead." As though freed from long-time restraints, they did. I asked if they'd seen me hugging the blooms. "No. You do?"
We've been embracing our merry canary-colored friends ever since.
Pink is beginning to touch the edges, eventually brown will envelop them, and they will be gone.
But the memory of blossomy hugs, ah, that will linger through winter.
I'm sure of it.