Flowers for a Boston Weekend

The prospect of a weekend in Boston is always a happy one, particularly if one is fortunate enough to make it a very long weekend, starting on Thursday and ending on Sunday night. Such was the case last week, but thanks to the pre-programmed nature of this blog, I’m only getting to the recap now.

It begins, as all good things do, with a collection of flowers. As we enter the final stretches of summer, their colors are stronger, deeper in the lower afternoon sunlight. It’s as if they are preparing for the final send off, especially since the ones you see here are annuals; they will not live beyond the first hard freeze. But oh what color and beauty before that sad fall.

There is something to be said for such a riotously-exuberant blaze of glory, this brilliant bit of fire before the final burn. Perennials can hold their passion, subsisting in softer fashion, muted through the heat of summer in their efforts to last through to the next year. For the most part I tend to be perennial in nature, keeping things quiet and stable so as to last through another year – but every once in a while something will shake me up, and shake me to the core, and I’ll go all annual on your ass, throwing caution to the wind, defying sense and sanity, and gleefully giving in to every animal impulse.

And once or twice in a lifetime, if we’re lucky, some of us are able to combine the two – the short-lived excitement of a colorful cacophony coupled with the enduring life-sustaining and quiet stability of something that lasts, something that will go on. It’s a tricky balancing act, but a worthy one. You don’t give up on that kind of beauty, or the chance of having it endure.

It’s something that is exquisite and tender, but in the best circumstances also hardy enough to last – and if you can harness the vivid but finite with the lasting but stalwart, it’s a magical bit of alchemy that is too rare to let go.

And so we hold these August flowers a little closer to the heart, shielding them from impending frosts, hoping that somehow, some way, they will survive the winters to come. We are more protective of them, and love them just a little more because of it. Life is too fragile to be so careless.

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