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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Bloom (11/22/12)

TITLE: Wood Lily
By Marita Thelander


The U-haul door rumbled shut. My teeth clenched at the click of the padlock. Subconsciously I heard the echo of an invisible padlock on my heart.

Another move. At least we weren’t dragging kids through it this time.

For hours I stared at the back of the moving truck, numb, following the taillights to our next home. A hint of spring helped my broody mood. I found joy in the bright green tips of deciduous trees along the way, but joy faded when we pulled into the circular driveway.

The neglected flower gardens in the front yard did nothing to encourage me to get my fingernails dirty. My arthritis ached at the thought. In my opinion, they could stay ignored. I’ve prettied up my share of parsonage yards only to leave them at their peak and be forced to start over at the next place. I’m not into gardening anyway.

My first order of business as Mrs. Pastor of Faith Center…smile my way through the ladies Spring Tea with the pathetically unoriginal theme. If I hear anyone tell me to Bloom Where You’re Planted I’m liable to spit on her pretty little pedicure, poking out of her prissy pastel open-toed shoes.

The Master Gardner speaker was full of analogies. Some cute, but others I tried my hardest not to be caught rolling my eyes. After all, this was my first impression to the fine women of Faith Center.

I reached for another one-bite sandwich wishing for a Big Mac and sipped on my loaded cream-n-sugar tolerable tea, pretending it was a quad-shot macchiato. Nothing about this event suited me.

“…take a few minutes at your table to discuss…”

Wait. What? Discuss? My mind raced. How long did I zone out?

I forced my above average intelligent half of my brain to give a swift kick to the ADD side of my messy gray matter and listened carefully to figure out what in the world we were supposed to be discussing.

I gave up and excused myself to the restroom. I thought I managed to escape the spiritual group therapy session, but when I snagged a chocolate strawberry at the serving table, Mrs. Master Gardener caught me.

“We’re so glad you were able to move to town in time for our annual Spring Tea.” Mrs. MG smiled and exposed tuna in her front teeth.

Don’t stare. Don’t stare. Do not stare!

“Well, it will be interesting to see what Jack has unpacked and where he puts it all while I’m gone.” My laugh sounded forced to my own ears.

“So, which one are you?”

“Excuse me?”

“What flower do you relate to? Which one seems most like you?” She held her tea cup with elegance and grace.

Oh, how I wished for a multiple choice answer. Out of nowhere, I remembered the flower that caught my attention on a damp science field trip to the rainforest when my daughter was twelve.

“The trillium,” I blurted then stuffed the remainder of the strawberry in my mouth. No elegance involved.

“Ah, the trinity flower.”

“Hmm? Oh, yes,” I finished chewing. “Three petals, three leaves and three…of those bud protector thingies.”


“Yeah,” I reached for another berry. “Yes, sepals.” Nervous eating. Not pretty.

“It’s also known as the wood lily,” she sipped and searched my eyes.

I stared out the window. Flat. Dry. Seriously lacking in evergreens. I sighed. “I do love the forest.”

“I’m sorry.”

“For what?” My eyes stung with the threat of tears.

“You won’t find trilliums in these parts.”

“I guess I’ll be in search of a new flower then.”

Mrs. MG winked. “I’ll help you discover your new blossomed identity.”

My heart raced when I abruptly dismissed myself to go assist their new pastor in finding the proper places for our furnishings. Mrs. MG hugged me tight and called me her wood lily.

I was sure she knew her plants well and understood why I chose the trillium. Yes, I love the wet woods and of course the trinity flower could associate with my role as a minister’s wife. But the deeper reason? It takes two years for a trillium seed to germinate and another five or more for it to bloom.

We’ve yet to live anywhere long enough for me to bloom.

I gazed at the dead flowerbed and suddenly remembered, when a trillium is transplanted, it has the potential to bloom the following spring.

And I wondered if a wood lily could thrive here.

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This article has been read 761 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Noel Mitaxa 12/02/12
A strong, clear inside look at your MC's mind, which reminds me of when a retired colleague's wife learned they were moving to a new church by reading about it in the national denominational journal. A sad stroy, but well described.
Yvonne Blake 12/04/12
Oh boy! I can relate to this story. I didn't "bloom" until I had been married for awhile...when I had made some lasting friends.
Great dialogue and inner thoughts. Well done!
C D Swanson 12/04/12
Very realistic dialogue in this descriptive piece. I enjoyed it and the meaning beyond the words.
THanks. God Bless~
Eddie Snipes12/06/12
Great story. Congrats on your EC ranking. Well deserved.
Leola Ogle 12/06/12
Congratulations, Marita! Excellent work! God bless!
Danielle King 12/06/12
I really enjoyed reading your story. I loved the humour and being inside your MC's head.

C D Swanson 12/06/12
Congrats! God bless~
Beth LaBuff 12/06/12
Mari, I LOVE your story. You have humor and poignancy all interwoven. Masterful work! Congrats on 1st place!
Catrina Bradley 12/06/12
Mari, I love your transparency and heart in this story. Well written (of course) but also it seems so natural and unforced. And WHAT a message! Congrats on you EC!!!
Ellen Carr 12/06/12
Congratulations on your first place in EC! Your story is well-told and rings true. I enjoyed it and was moved by it.
Lisa Johnson12/07/12
Wonderfully wistful. . . preciously poignant. Conrats on your 1st place on level and EC.
Bea Edwards 12/08/12
A masterful piece which I enjoyed tremendously. Looking into the MC's thoughts and seeing the edge through which her pain colored her experience it was easy to relate to my own slightly sarcastic yet humorous way of coping that I think many of us can relate to. Well done and well deserved win.
Catherine Craig 02/10/13
I enjoyed this article so much - can identify with it from Army life moving so often. Congrats!