Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Girl and the Flower

Last week I was driving to a meeting in Norfolk.
Norfolk is a small city and relatively easy to navigate
since several of the major streets will eventually lead to the same place
if one knows the proper turns to take.
And I had intended to take one of those routes,
--the shorter, less traveled one--
 but I got in the wrong lane and missed my turn.
So there I was, sitting at a traffic light on a busy street 
I had not intended to be on,
waiting for the light to change and the traffic to move 
so I could be on my way.

I glanced out my car window and noticed a long hedge of lantana
planted right next to the curb for nearly half a block.
I didn't recall ever seeing it there before.
Lantana is a very popular garden flower here 
because it grows well despite the heat and humidity of our summers.
And it is beautiful. 
The flowers bloom in unusual clusters 
and their colors range from white to violet to bright pink 
and yellow to orange to red.

The lantana flower buds remind me of tiny pillows:

The leaves are very textured, feeling rough and scratchy against the skin.
describes them as feeling a lot like a cat's tongue.

So thoughts of lantana were going through my head
when the stoplight changed to green.
But the car in front of me didn't speed through the intersection as I expected.
In fact, the driver just sat there.
Suddenly, the passenger side door opened up 
and a young girl leaned out as far as she could 
and quickly plucked a lantana flower from the hedge
before pulling herself back into the car as the driver sped away.

 A kindred spirit, I thought.
It made me glad I had missed my turn.

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