Let Me Take You to The Market

It is a bright Saturday morning, the morning before Easter Sunday. The sun leans forward, casting a spell over treetops outside my window. Tulip bulbs break out of topsoil in two straight lines, while daffodils flirt with the sky. Varying yellow shades brightly dance in the wind, even brighter against green-growing spring grass. Rows of branches hover with small sage-colored blooms bursting forth from faded shells. Though the sun deceives with intensity, I wear my long raincoat to protect myself from a biting chill. As I head to my first Farmer’s Market of the season, I carry one cloth tote and a leather wallet while walking between shifting shade from high-top structures. Among brick buildings are apartments and updated condos. Some are more run down with their original windows and paneling. Air conditioning units sit like a colony, shameless with their backsides leaning out the windows toward the street. I arrive at the intersection of Larchmere and North Moreland where I wait for the glowing white man to take his shift in the little black box. He lights up, signaling my cue to cross several lanes. As I approach Shaker Square, I pass a middle-aged woman in a long olive green jacket zipped to her chin. She carries a bouquet of flowers in her left hand with two totes hanging over her arm, clutching a small leather purse against her right hip. I look her way and smile but behind the large sunglasses she’s wearing, she must be looking down; a missed opportunity to share this morning’s beauty with a neighbor. 

I try to arrive at the market as early as it opens so as to avoid the busy rush of shoppers. I also do this to get better dibs on produce (especially gathering eggs before they sell out). I’m glad I made it early today as I lock eyes with the few remaining jars of flowers at the Amish farmstand. I have a feeling I might want to splurge on a bit of floral essence therapy. While I’ve often been told that buying flowers is a waste of money, I decide to buy flowers for myself: a gift, to me, from me. The joy they bring—the brightness, the smell, the liveliness, the dance they do when hands pull away to let them rest in a glass of water. The rush of pleasure I experience every time I see them in bloom. Am I not worth the money spent to experience this joy? The act of purchasing flowers (which will soon die and return to the earth) is a reminder that I am worth kindness, thought, and pleasure. Walking along train tracks, I make my way to the entrance of the Farmer’s Market where the stands line up in two rows across one another. I stop at several tables to purchase garlic, green onions, basil, rosemary, strawberry, mint, honey, pickled radish with red onions, and of course, a dozen fresh eggs. I recognize a few venues from last year but am pleased to see new faces of small business owners.

After completing a walk-through of the farm stands, I turn around to make my way back toward the Amish booth with the flowers. “Can I help you?” asks the man in a thick black jacket with a stiff-brimmed dark hat. “May I have one bag of arugula and a bouquet of flowers?” I respond, pointing to a table covered in clear bags of hand-picked greenery. We exchange cash for goods and I turn to make my way home. I feel the weight of a bright bundle of flowers as wet stems drip water down the front of my hand and into my palm. Like Madeline, I float between shadowing towers and sunlight. With each step, I lean and sway with the brightness of spring. In one straight line.

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