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The Flowers That Bloom In The Spring

f_impatiens_xtremeutopiamix-2People who live in High Rise Society are used to gray cement, not green grass, so any living specimen turns them on, maybe not as much as sex, but enough so that they’re willing to do battle.  I know it’s cold out there, and most plants are still underground.  But it won’t be long before they’re heads are peaking out of tree pits, starting anew the whole cycle

A little advance planning may help because things have gotten really complicated.  So complicated that in some buildings it takes a committee almost as big as a village just to decide what color the impatiens should be.  This can become a BIG PROBLEM because everyone on a committee, whether to save the whales or plant flowers, always feels the need to justify their existence.

Instead of just telling the gardener to pick what she likes – you don’t think any residents are actually going to get their hands dirty – one says, “why don’t we have orange.”  Another will say, “orange is garish.  Pink is nice.”  Then someone objects, “we had pink last year, how about salmon?” “No, I don’t think our flowers should be the color of a fish,” a vegan announces, “they should be blue, like the sky.” “But there are no blue impatience,” the first committee member tells them. And the whole contretemps starts all over again.

tulipsBy the time they finally pick a color the summer is over, and they have to focus on the fall, which is sure to invite an even more protracted battle because with tulip bulbs you not only have to decide pink or yellow or red or purple, but also short or tall, striped or solid, double early or double late, fringed or fosteriana – enough to make them throw up their hands in defeat or just throw darts.

Just don’t mention green.  Green is not considered a color by most people in High Rise Society even though the encyclopedia says it’s an additive primary color created by mixing yellow and blue, both of which are accepted as colors.

 “Where’s the color?” everyone complained to my friend, a professional landscaper, who had donated her time and skill to create a rooftop garden for residents in the building.  “What do you mean?” she surveyed the lush leafy space. “Green is not a color. We want COLOR, they handed her a pile of paint chips. Those are creations of artifice, not nature, she wanted to, but didn’t say. 

oak-saplingginkgo_treeTrees are the one exception to this rule. Even tribesmen know green is the only color most leaves come in.  But if a tree dies, it must be replaced immediately or else they might get hysterical.  It’s not like when a person expires, or even a dog, and there has to be a decent interval for mourning.  But even if the old dead tree is promptly replaced with a new one, everyone will complain that the new one isn’t as nice as the old one because it’s small and scrawny and the old one was big and tall. You can remind them that it takes a long time for a tree to grow, but it won’t do much good because patience is not a virtue that comes naturally to anyone who lives in High Rise Society.

 That’s why some residents engage in guerrilla gardening, laying claim to space on the roof or the postage-sized plot in front of the building.  It’s a risky strategy because, unlike those astronauts who planted a flag on the moon, you don’t have a right to plant anything anywhere – except in your apartment. But it will get the attention of the powers that be, who may be embarrassed into action.

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