How cruel, I lamented, to set those poor plants outside on a day like this.
And how cruel, my thoughts echoed, to tempt us poor mortals with the idea that spring is just around the corner. We still have many dark and dreary weeks of winter to go.
In spite of my dismay, I dug deep into my rain-splattered purse to pull out my phone and snap a few shots of this discordant beauty before the flowers all froze to death.
The photo shoot only took a few seconds,but as I was finishing, a woman stopped next to me.
She saw what I was doing, paused just a heartbeat, and laughed.
"Oh, they're so lovely!"
"And only a dollar forty-seven each? I want some!"
We smiled at one another as she sailed on into the store.
I could tell you about her face, just beginning to show the deepening beauty of the decades, glowing and generous and gentle.
I could try to describe the lilting melody of her voice, delighted by her find and touched with the trace of an Eastern European accent.
But all you need to know is that in this brief encounter, I felt hope and courage rise up in me as if the warming winds of the new season had already begun to breathe against the land.
And I wondered if I hadn't met Madame Spring herself, just outside the entrance to my grocery store.