Planting Flowers in 2018


By Jose Maria Nieto:

Person 1: I don’t see reasons to be optimistic. What will 2017 bring us?

Person 2: I believe that it will bring flowers.

Person 1: Yes? Why?

Person 2: I’m planting flowers.


I’m trying to cling to this comic as 2018 starts. It makes a good point, and reminds me that just because I am in a bad mood this morning doesn’t mean that the day is wasted. Unlike Charlie Brown, a cartoon character who couldn’t find healthy coping mechanisms, I have them. It’s only the first week of January. Someone tells me my views on the new Star Wars movies are biased. They delete the words I write on a publicly shared website.

Here we are, in 2018. Our Congress is enabling a tyrant who may be suffering from dementia and hates women. Apparently white supremacists will stop trolling people and running over them if their victims show them “compassion”. We are probably doomed to end our existence because just enough people don’t care, or only care about their self-interests. And yet, some people are still trying to add good to the world. Because we have to add as much good as we can, to balance out the bad people and the bad actions.

I’m not sure if what I add does good. But I’ve planted flowers. I’ve sent gifts to friends, made donations, and sent my writing out into the world. Last year and the year before, I got the idea to plant a butterfly and bee garden. The first time, the vines were ripped out. I planted milkweed, chives and bright blue coneflowers. The coneflowers choked out the chives, and I’m not sure how the milkweed performed.

When we came back from vacation in September, I was terrified to look at the flowers I had planted. Hurricane Irma had knocked over our rosebush, which is miraculously still alive if lopsided. I was convinced that the wind had ripped them out and left them to rot. Then the weeds would come, predatory, and crowd the seeds that I had planted.

On Monday, on New Year’s Day, I finally took the courage to look at the garden. I thought about the handful of seeds I still had, tucked away in my desk drawer. I thought for 2018 I could still plant flowers. It had been months.

The cone flowers were still blooming, and growing. There were a few weeds, but nothing like I had expected. They had tiny blue flowers, and had taken up most of the flowerbed. The blooms were sparse, but they were there.  What luck, and what mercy.

I’ve made a list of what flowers, all metaphorical, I want to plant this year. They vary from creative projects to iPhone apps to gifts for others. I may add some real plants to the mix, like the packet of strawberry seeds I received from an editor.  But I know I can make flowers bloom and last.



Leave a Reply