A Midnight Reaping for Mother


The night was wet. It made things messier that way, but such was the state of the evening, and it was the only time I could do it. In matters of human-made holidays, nature is not obliged to oblige. I grabbed a large paper bag, a pair of scissors, and slipped out into the darkness. Pausing on the side porch, I allowed my eyes to adjust to the night. Beads of fallen rain glistened on the grass. The gate gave way easily, and I padded quietly onto the lawn. It was spongy beneath my feet. The road stretched to the left and right – I went left, up a slight incline. At the top of the little hill was the destination.

My shadow shortened then elongated as I passed a street lamp. If I was to be seen, this would be where it happened. As far as I could tell, I moved on unspotted, and if anyone did witness me they weren’t doing anything about it. There was another street lamp near the top of the hill, but it wasn’t lit. That made is safer, but more difficult to locate the prize. No matter – I smelled them before I saw them. I knew they were there. They could not escape.

I circled them first, squinting and scanning which area might give the least resistance, which would afford the easiest access, and when I found a break I leapt up and entered. There, in the center of the group, I wielded my scissors. Drops of rain fell about me, stinging my head. The grass shuddered around us beneath the falling water. For a few moments, I broke the silence of the night.

As each branch gave way, I dropped the lilacs into the bag. They were for a bouquet for my Mom. When I made it back home, I shook them out, then smashed the stems before putting them in a vase of cool water. They would greet my mother in the kitchen the next morning, as a Sunday surprise for Mother’s Day. Worth all the wet trouble they were.

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