I was allowed to keep this flower. The local City Gardener had already picked it this morning, and it was sticking out of the big bag she uses for clippings to be mulched when I happened by. I had already thanked her in Autumn for all her fine work throughout the neighborhood.

I see blossoms in every season, even Winter, though we face the winds of New York Harbor (we are sticking out of the Battery). It is thanks to her. I see her digging and planting and weeding and pruning practically every morning as I walk my son to school.

I very nearly picked an apartment right across the street from the school, which would have had a narrow view of these flora from the window, but might not have gotten me up close every day the way the further-away place has, since I have to walk past. I have to confess that a factor in my decision was a surprise meeting during my tour of the apartment building. I turned a corner and came face-to-face with one of its residents, a young Tor Johnson type so top heavy as to require a walker, lumbering along in what appeared to be a medicated haze, from which he gazed sidelong out of one fiery eye.

I have since witnessed this character making his way outside to visit the flowers with as much reliability as the City Gardener. I tried in my mind to admire his diligent attempt at health until I realized he was always going for a smoke. Meanwhile, I imagined he and the Gardener had formed some sort of bond, not unlike Beauty and The Beast, wherein she chose to stay close to him in spite of greater opportunities because he was the only one to truly appreciate her gifts.