Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Early Morning Marauder

I've been casing the place for some time, coveting what's there, justifying the pillaging in my mind, plotting how and when I would act, timing my purloining for the least chance of discovery.
Very early in the morning seemed like the best idea, especially as I am usually awake by five a.m. - light enough to see, dim enough I might not be recognized. Just in case, I'd wear my black hoodie.

Along the south side of our little bungalow on 4th Street in West Des Moines, clear on the back corner, barely visible in this photo, grew some orange and yellow, daisy like flowers with a brown center. My neighbor across the drive way, Bernice, told me they were gaillardias.  I'd never heard of them. I did not care for them at all.

But tastes change over the years. I learned that the more common name for gaillardia was blanket flower. I would see them growing wild when we traveled in the western states. The common name was said to refer to the colorful blankets woven by Native Americans. I began wishing I had some growing in my yard and even tried planting them when we were still on the farm. They didn't grow.

In  the last two or three years there have been many trailers moved out of the leased-land park where I live. Near where those homes were are all kinds of perennials, including, in one spot, some gaillardia. Last year the park owner sprayed to kill weeds growing where some of the trailers had been. I thought for sure he had killed all the blanket flowers. But a couple weeks ago I noticed some still blooming along the sidewalk.

It was then I started thinking about liberating a few plants. Today was the day. I awoke around five and decided I would walk down there with my trowel. All was quiet, no one out and about although there were lights on in the house across the street from my plunder spot. Then I saw that homeowner a ways down the street walking her little puff ball. What should I do? Her back was to me, but she might turn around at any moment. Once I bent down to dig the flowers I would be behind a dumpster. What the heck? I'd go for it. If she saw me, she saw me.

I dug a few plants and left, wondering the whole time if she was watching me walk away. Chances are she didn't even care. I've set them out near the sundial - they are a sun-loving species - and am hoping they will thrive. And if they don't, do I have the nerve to go back for more? The way I look at it, I'm saving them from being sprayed with weed killer again. (Justifying my pilfering.)

The last time I referred to myself as a marauder I was a preteen and my sister and I were the Midnight Marauders sneaking into the cellar for a bottle of grape juice to go with our crackers for a midnight snack. Now I am a septuagenarian Dawn Marauder. They do go easier on old folks in lock up, don't they?

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