Spring's eternal hope bursts upon the Earth with exuberance, energy, and boundless optimism. A seed breaks from its winter husk, and reaches for the sun, a new, slender sprout. It twists and turns, reaching higher and higher. Its company is other gentle flowers, only just beginning to grow, each beautiful, simple, fragile. The attentive Gardener gently weeds the soil, watering when the flower is thirsty, fertilizing to encourage growth and strong roots, The flower and her companions know no frost, for the the Gardener covers them when its cold. The flower and her companions know no blight, no pestilence, nothing more harmful than an occasional strong gust of wind. Around the flower buzzes life, heard in the joyful voices of the birds and crickets and bees. What for so long is seen as simple sprouts begin to show buds, each young flower similar but none the same. Awaiting their blooming, there is nothing but happiness in spring.
Soon spring gives way to summer. Almost overnight, the flowers' buds burst into the the air, bright colors and complex shapes. They shine nearly as bright as the sun, enlivening their surroundings, to the envy of the old oak and stone wall. The Gardener takes time to admire, knowing the flower did more work than he. The garden is so full, so dynamic, so alive, even a small patch such as this surpasses most works of man. But the garden is not one thing, but many, many hundreds. The Gardener focuses on the one lovely flower, and his heart swells with joy. He sets aside his trowel and rake, and rests from his labor.
And later, some time later, the Gardener is working a new patch of garden, coaxing more flowers to bloom. Upon his knees, he focuses on the young, immature stalks, knowing how fragile and exposed they are. A quick, unexpected gust of wind rocks the old oak, and a loud crack splits the air. The Gardener looks up, and at first everything seems in order. He stands and covers his eyes, shading his view from the strong summer glare. Almost instantly, his hands drop to his sides. He walks quickly to the flower bed, a gnarled branch from the oak driven into the soft soil.
For a moment, he naively thinks all is well. Most flowers' colors remain bright, as they sway gently in the breeze, reaching for the sun as ever. But alone on the ground lays a lone flower. While still beautiful, it is painfully, heartbreakingly clear the flower is broken, lifeless. The Gardener forgets for the moment the rest of the garden, and thinks only of the fallen. Surrounded by life, this loss feels so much more poignant. Some time later the Gardener returns to his toiling, but he thinks not of what is to come, but of what might have been. Soon his latest plantings will need his full attention, but for now the lone flower stands alone in his memory.