I just passed a local plant and garden store that had a large sign outside exclaiming, “Zinnias are here!” I hadn’t really thought of zinnias as having a particular season—of course they do—nor had I figured that gardeners were waiting for the zinnias to arrive. But I guess I am just not as attuned to zinnias as others. I don’t know why, they are quite lovely in their symmetrical design and they are available in so many colors.
In the language of flowers, their meaning depends on their color. Mixed colors means thinking of an absent friend, yellow means daily remembrance, white means goodness, scarlet means constancy and magenta means lasting affection. So you have lots of choices on what you want to convey with your zinnia flowers. Enjoy!
My Dog Practices Geometry
By Cathryn Essinger
I do not understand the poets who tell me
that I should not personify. Every morning
the willow auditions for a new role
outside my bedroom window—today she is
Clytemnestra; yesterday a Southern Belle,
lost in her own melodrama, sinking on her skirts.
Nor do I like the mathematicians who tell me
I cannot say, “The zinnias are counting on their
fingers,” or “The dog is practicing her geometry,”
even though every day I watch her using
the yard’s big maple as the apex of a triangle
from which she bisects the circumference
of the lawn until she finds the place where
the rabbit has escaped, or the squirrel upped
the ante by climbing into a new Euclidian plane.
She stumbles across the lawn, eyes pulling
her feet along, gaze fixed on a rodent working
the maze of the oak as if it were his own invention,
her feet tangling in the roots of trees, and tripping,
yes, even over themselves, until I go out to assist,
by pointing at the squirrel, and repeating, “There!
There!” But instead of following my outstretched
arm to the crown of the tree, where the animal is
now lounging under a canopy of leaves,
catching its breath, charting its next escape,
she looks to my mouth, eager to read my lips,
confident that I—who can bring her home
from across the field with a word, who
can speak for the willow and the zinnia—
can surely charm a squirrel down from a tree.