The Next Thing

She takes up the battered old watering can and rains love down upon her thirsty family.  They nod with gratitude as she quenches their thirst, and stand a little straighter, refreshed.

She loves to putter in her garden, but she isn’t very good at it, especially since she’s often too drunk to practice.  But occasionally, still flush with the fervor of her last drink, she sees a picture of a beautiful flower in one of her magazines, and thinks, Oh, how darling. That would look lovely in my garden. 

So she goes out and buys a packet of seeds.  At first, she follows the instructions very carefully.  She prepares a fertile spot for the new addition, and then seed by seed, places them in the ground at just the right depth with just the right spacing. And then she doesn’t. Because, you see, she also has a very short attention span, and she’s out of interest before she’s out of seeds.  She tosses the last handful of seeds willy-nilly at the turned earth, and she’s on to the next thing. 

The next thing might be a pitcher of martinis, or it might be the strawberry seedlings she got from Jackson & Perkins, seduced by the colorfully illustrated and strawberry-scented sales pitch she received in the mail.

And so it goes.

Because flowers and plants are eager to please, they forgive their sloppy beginnings.  They bloom and grow and are swept the mob scene of color and scent that crowds her yard. Pushing and shoving, they riot for her attention.  And when she’s sober and remembers, she gives it, taking up her battered old watering can and raining love down upon them before she’s on to the next thing. 

Written for Magpie Tales.


  1. Interesting story about nature's grace.

  2. more truth than fiction for many in this story - do hope she enjoys the plants when she is sober as much as the martini's while drinking....great magpie...bkm

  3. Sounds like something I would do...but than again, that's probably why I don't attempt a garden to begin with. Very nice!

  4. Great opening! These words are so true:

    "rains love down upon her thirsty family. They nod with gratitude as she quenches their thirst, and stand a little straighter, refreshed." LOVELY!

    Read my Magpie Tale here!

  5. Today was my first attempt at a Magpie Tale. It was lots of fun. I enjoyed your tale. I get it!!!


  6. natures forgiveness...love the mob scene of color...nicely played patti...

  7. Willy-nilly...sometimes a good thing.

  8. I'm the same way sans martinis. Start out with wonderful intentions, then go willy-nilly. Enjoyed your story!!

  9. Paul C: Thank you.

    bkm: Indeed. My dad was such a gardener. A drink for the plants, a drink for him, a drink for the plants, a drink...

    Cowboy: I admit, the part about her impatience is totally true and totally mine. I had the oddest garden once because I just threw the seeds in. I soon realized I was no gardener.

    PG: Thank you. I read your Magpie, and liked it a lot.

    Brian: Thank you. The few times I've tried to have a flower garden, I've always had a mob scene. No sense of design at all.

    Janice & Tumblewords: I agree. Willy-nilly is pretty much my middle name, and much more fun than Proper.

  10. I must say, there's a time or two this could have been written about me. I love the picture to go with the story.

  11. In the morning’s dewy mist,
    A golden sun arose and kissed
    Her broadcast seeds
    Among the weeds,
    His drunken Horticulturist

  12. Guess the flowers are the winners every time!

  13. Such a lovely take on the theme!! The read was fantastic! I hope that the objects around me don't have such feelings towards me... I am no drunk, but my attention span (well, mostly) is quite ...umm.. narrow!
    I try to hang on to it...but it depends on so many things.. phheeww
    A great piece, this!!! You've portrayed everything so masterfully here

  14. Teresa: Thank you. I can take no credit for the picture. It was the prompt over at Magpie Tales.

    Stafford: Oh, you are a silver-tongued rascal. Poetry ever at the ready. ;-)

    Jinksy: And that's a good thing.

    kavisionz: Thank you. I am totally with you on the attention span thing.

    Daft Lass: I'm glad this brought a smile to your face. Thanks for coming by.

  15. A very enjoyable read! Great magpie!

    -Weasel =)

  16. One of the more unique interpretations of Willow's watering can ... and quite enjoyable. I can see her garden in my mind's eye ........

  17. Excellent character study and excellent visual writing! I love the idea of her plants as "her family" - tragic and beautiful.

    Oh - and not so tragic about her losing interest and letting it go willy nilly - it's my favourite kind of garden! :-)

  18. I can see the flowers fighting for position, longing for attention. Sad about her gardening skills, but the flowers forgave her, so I guess we can too.

  19. This reminds me of Emily Delahunty in My House in Umbria.


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