“Odder than plowing flowers,” someday, will be a proverb. You’ll say it when you’re ripping down old wall paper that could eke by for another few years. When you’re cutting a friend’s hair that’s grown beautifully to their waist. When a spring ice storm splits open your full-in-bloom cherry trees. You’ll say it when a friend puts to sleep their cat that doesn’t seem that old or decrepit, and when your teenager cleans out the fridge and tosses a few bags of veggies that were still salvageable. It’ll be the perfect utterance when you’re sorting through all your children’s artwork you’ve saved over the years, and somehow, bittersweetly, choose which pieces to let go.
There’s a time even for turning underground the brightest beauties of the summer. A flurry of insects escaping the destruction, a puff of pollen shot out from the last inflorescences, a scattering of petal scraps behind the tiller’s path. I sweep through beforehand, snapping off a few miniature sunflower side shoots, snipping an armful of strawflowers to dry. I till perpendicular to the beds behind the greenhouses since they’re so short, and as I ride past the flower beds, over and over again, I pluck another flower here and there, hide them away in the tractor arm rest, tuck one into my braid for the first time all season. I want to rescue them all, but I see that they’re barely hanging on by a thread, anyway. It’s as good a time as any to let them go.
But still, doggone it: it feels odder than plowing flowers.