Black-eyed Susan


I took the life of an innocent flower today.

On a walk, my steaming, hour-long walk today, I saw a flower—a black-eyed susan. It was surrounded by tall, waving clover whose feathery tops tickled my arms, and was growing in a crowd with others of its kind, but it was the most beautiful.

In unthinking greed, I reached down and tried to make it part company with the lower half of its stem and thus take it with me, perhaps to put it in my hair or later in a vase, but despite my initial effort, it remained firmly and fastidiously fastened to its fellows.

Her innocently but vibrantly yellow petals and deep black-brown eye gazed, wonderingly and beseechingly, up at me, as if hurt deeply. “Why are you trying to pick me? Can’t you see I’m happy where I am?”

For a second I kept trying, twisting this way and that, the hard fibers pressing unforgivingly against my hand, in hopes that it might come free and I would be able to take it without further thought.

It was at this moment that I was stunned at this flower’s stubborn resistance. I had never known these flowers to be this unwilling or immovable before, so why should this one be? Its seemingly fragile fibers pressed against my hand with a determined will, an unwavering resolution to stay in the field and dance under the sun. I gazed down, abashed, and saw her green lifeblood seeping onto my hands from the pillaged torso.

I kept tugging for a moment longer, but was frightened to discover that I was not only ravaging this lady flower’s stem, leaving her mangled and bedraggled, I was inadvertently and cruelly uprooting the entire plant. I saw the life-giving roots as they starkly lay exposed, the beige contrasting the dark earth.

I turned and walked quickly away. My heart pounded. I wonder, how long had it taken her to grow there, tall and triumphant, as she cultivated her rich, feminine beauty for all the world to see?

I looked back over my shoulder, once, and the saw my flower in her fallen glory. Still beautiful, still vibrantly yellow and intensely black. She looked the same. Tilted despairingly over  on her side, she still shone with the same outstanding beauty as she did the moment I saw her, save she was contorted. Her color is not altered, but inwardly she is withering and her life source draining away. Her vibrantly yellow and intense black still blazed out strongly with a soft, gentle grace underneath the sweltering sun.

My lifeblood left me pale on my steaming, hour-long walk.

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