Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Dubious Moral

or Better Late Than—

Never let it be said that I am a bad influence.  Far, far be it from me to lead the innocent down the primrose path to vice, profligacy, and unhelpfulness, let alone to traipse down that path myself.  And yet...

First, however, let me apologize.  The world is a wide and varied place, and some of you are reading this from the balmy coast of southern California, the warm mesas of Arizona, or even the summery Swartland of South Africa.  You won't be remotely impressed by what follows, but please be patient—there's always the moral.

Meanwhile, others of you are struggling against blizzard winds, blinding snowstorms, and sub-zero Fahrenheit temperatures, and, if you have the same reaction as one of my Vermonter friends this week, you are likely to be really, really irritated.  As I was drafting this post today (in the sunshine on the patio, while a finch murmured sweet nothings to the world) I threw down my pen and literally said out loud, "I can't show this to anyone north of the Mason-Dixon line."  Then the immortal words of Jerome K. Jerome came to me, from the Preface to Three Men in a Boat:
The chief beauty of this book lies not so much in its literary style, or in the extent and usefulness of the information it conveys, as in its simple truthfulness. ...This, more than all its other charms, will, it is felt, make the volume precious in the eye of the earnest reader; and will lend additional weight to the lesson that the story teaches.

Truthfulness, yes!  One of the great virtues.  With that reminder, emboldened to continue on in the pursuit of "hopeless and incurable veracity," and without even a hint of southwestern smugness, I offer this current photo from my garden:

The fall-blooming crocuses keep on coming.  I'm pretty sure that the ones blooming now are the batch I planted late this fall—too late, really, or so it seemed at the time.  The pickings at the local garden center were slim, and I took the last few bulbs out of a "grab bag" bin.  But the timing has worked out surprisingly well.  Whereas the bulbs I put in last year flowered this October, the ones that didn't get planted until November are just beginning to make themselves at home.  One at a time they're coming into bloom, and each blossom is its own little explosion of joy.  Even compared to the flurry of blossoms in spring, this little scattering in December makes a pretty impressive emotional impact.  The bare fact that there are flowers in December—how much more exciting does it get than that?

Had I planted the bulbs in September, when they're supposed to be planted, they would long since be a thing of memory.  Instead, by deciding to plant more at the last minute, I am enjoying zing after zing of late-blossoming excitement.  To me this seems to be a clear instance of the virtues of procrastination.  I don't know how else to interpret such plain facts, or what more obvious moral can be drawn from them.   It may not be the kind of moral you want to teach your children, and yet, the facts remain. 

Vice.  Profligacy.  Unhelpfulness.  I do apologize.

At least it's all true.


  1. Delighted to have found you, Stacy! You have a wonderful way of writing, and I love that you shared your beautiful crocus. I love surrounding myself with beautiful things. Thank you for stopping by and visiting my blog today. It's nice to make a new friend.

  2. May I add Envy (of your sunny little crocuses) to the list that starts with Vice? Just a joke - I am more delighted at the idea of a different winter in another land than jealous. I squealed with glee today at finding a little white aster in the ditch that appeared to be blooming... It was more frozen in October than actively blooming, but still, how nice!

  3. Your delicate little crocus would last about 10 minutes in our midday heat. Have to pick the roses as fast as I can, to enjoy them in vases. Greetings from the Swartland ;>)

  4. Shelli, thank you! I'm so happy that you returned the visit. I agree re: the beautiful things. Gardens are endless givers of joy that way.

    Zoe, how wonderful to find an out-of-season not-exactly-blooming aster! :) Late-autumn surprises like that are so happy-making--I'd have squealed with glee, too. We cherish signs of life this time of year.

    Diana, isn't it funny how delicate crocuses are in some ways and so sturdy in others? They wouldn't like your summer heat at all, but frost is no problem. I like it about halfway in between. :) Your home must smell heavenly with all those roses!

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  6. Oooo, I love the idea there's a moral reason to procrastinate! I'm a terrible (or, in light of what you say here, excellent procrastinator!)

    Love yout crocus...there's nothing flowering in the gardens around here :-(

    Thanks for your comments at Peace Bloggers Unite - nice comments like that keep me going :-D

  7. I love it when something that ought to be a mistake comes out so well!

    Keep posting about the flowers and warm weather - some of us live vicariously through you! lol

  8. Annelisa--thanks for the return visit! Yes, there *is* a moral reason to procrastinate (hem, hem). You owe it to yourself...

    klbrowser--It turned out well enough that I'm planning to procrastinate the same way next year. :) Oh, good--you were the one in extraordinarily nasty weather I was thinking of, so I'm glad to know it's not just *mean* to post about crocuses. :D