Commentary

When life reveals its magic

How a little girl’s act of kindness transformed an ordinary weed into a gift of extraordinary beauty.

FlowerIt was 4 o’clock in the afternoon when she came. The little, blond girl in the pink cartoon-character nightgown.

It was my annual spring flower-planting day, and I had been hard at it — pulling weeds, re-potting plants, raking leaves and preparing the flower beds for flower sprigs. I was tired.

The only reason I plant flowers each year anyway is to satisfy my mother, God rest her soul.

Mother loved flowers and had a natural talent for growing them. She didn’t have much money, but my mom found ways to get her flowers every year. She planted some from seeds, got sprigs from friends and relatives and was even known to pinch off a piece of a particularly lovely plant, even if said plant belonged to a stranger.

And my mother said that “any woman, worth her salt” would have flowers planted on her yard.

So there I was, tired, dirty, trying my darnedest to be worth my salt.

And seemingly out of nowhere, there she was — the sprite in the pink gown.

I was startled to look up and see her, standing there with her dad in front of my yard.

I didn’t know them, and I assumed the dad was there to say one of the usual things folks seem obliged to say when they see their neighbor working in the yard: “When you finish here, how ’bout coming on down to my house!”

But no, the sprite had another plan.

She stood there smiling, her hand behind her back. She hesitated for a second, and her dad said something to her in a voice too low for me to hear.

At once, she walked forward, pink flip-flops flopping. And when she was squarely in front of me, she pulled her hand from behind her back.

“For you!” she said, a quick smile lighting her face.

And in her hand — a clover bloom!

I had pulled a whole bag of clover weeds that day, complete with their fertile blooms.

But in the hand of the sprite, the weed was a flower. And the flower was or me.

I was touched.

And at the end of the day, the flower was carried inside and placed into a most special blue jar and set on the mantle.

There are so few magic moments these days. We search for magic sometimes. Most often, it manages to elude us.

But every now and then, magic walk right up to us.

And magic comes in the weirdest combinations…a little girl in a pink nightgown and matching flip-flops, at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, carrying weeds.

Qcitymetro contributor D. Barbara McWhite grew up in York County, S.C., and now lives in Orange Park, Fla., with her husband and cat Rover.

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