i go to the movie theater and watch a film narrated by steven with his boston accent.  it has taken the country by storm and is more of a powerpoint presentation than a movie.  you can purchase worksheets to follow along.  the entire thing is a meditation on a particular plant in bloom.  its petals are its leaves.  deep pink flags fluttering off of sticks buried in mud and green.  when it is thick with them its beauty cannot be denied.  the narrator skips through the thinning of the leaves in the fall and shows it with only leaf left hanging on. it tells us that in dark times, he likes to think of the strength of that last leaf and admire it. what is the viewpoint of that last leaf? he asks. The End.
the whole country goes crazy for this plant.  it’s somewhat rare.  no one had noticed the beauty of it before.  but it’s not currently in bloom, it’s winter. so big box stores are full of people trying to get plants that ARE in bloom and are the same color.  people smashing into each other for an imitation that they don’t know how to take care of, that also won’t be in bloom forever – if even a week.  but they want it NOW.
mo and i know where to find a real one.  it’s growing in the Coleta park.  no one recognizes it now because it just looks like three sticks coming out of the ground. i go to the park and uproot it.  the roots are tiny and lift out of the dry ground easily.  it hadn’t taken hold yet and so i don’t feel too bad for lifting it out.  i show it to mo and we giggle. she holds it against her and i put a towel over her shoulder to hide the plant.  we go down the stairs of the giant brick college and out the main entrance, down the stone steps to the ground.  to the right of the entryway (our left when exiting) is a garden.  students have planted vegetables there.  mo carefully plants our dormant beauty in the nutrient filled earth there.
a fat professor/military man is running for president. he is certain he will win because he knows that there is a plant in the coleta park.  if he can show that his town holds a rare beauty, he is sure to win.  he is obsessed with this plant.  OBSESSED. his shelves are lined with imitation vines with leaves from new green to the deep pink of autumn.  he pushes his face into them, inhales their synthetic scent.  he is furious that the real plant has disappeared. the world hasn’t realized it yet, but he has, and it will be a huge embarrassment. he is putting in a request for the FBI and the Pentagon to investigate.  i can’t imagine that they will be all that interested in searching for it. i sympathize and give away nothing.
it’s a big day for the school – open house. there is a crowd of potential students with their parents milling around the quad, most of them wearing state university sweatshirts.  a mother and son are arguing about his ability to be a responsible adult and he points to a stranger’s child sarcastically saying she’s right and that’s his kid.  does she want to meet him?  she tells him to knock it off.  the families glance at the rundown campus and stop at the dismal looking garden.  they give each other snotty knowing looks.  they are all better than this place.  not one of them recognizes and each of them dismisses the very same dormant beauty they praise when in bloom.