Withered, A Short Story

Unable to go on for another minute, our hero Dahlia allowed herself to weep on her neighbor Strong Rock's shoulder. The kids had just been so unruly all day. First they wanted sunshine, then they wanted shade, then they were thirsty and fighting over the watering can.

They didn't seem to understand that she had needs also, plus responsibilities. It was her roots that had nourished them since spring. Only she noticed the days getting shorter and understood it was time to prepare for winter. There was precious little time left to soak up every ray of the waning sun, breathe the fresh air and relish every drop of water from the nearby sprinkler. Soon, too soon, they would be yanked from their home in the precious soil and brought indoors for the winter.

She shuddered just thinking about it. In fact, that is what had forced her to seek comfort on Strong Rock a few moments ago. How could she explain to those young blossoms that indoors was for safety and protection? And how on earth was she going to manage them all winter long inside, with no fresh air, no sunshine, and no water? Indeed, the very thought is enough to bring any mother to tears!

Here it was only 2:30 in the afternoon, and Dahlia was spent. Yes, she was still sporting the glorious pinks of summer, but you could see the worry lines weighing heavily on all of her petals. Her stem was not bent or broken, but it wasn't strong enough to hold her upright anymore.

"Thank goodness for sturdy neighbors," she thought, "I will really miss Strong Rock while I'm in there and she's out here. She's always there for me with a kind word or a knowing smile. Surely she's seen it all after raising umpteen rocks and many boulders." Then Dahlia closed her eyes, tuned out the young folk's chatter and reminded herself that she was not inside yet

Unbeknownst to her, a local photographer had noticed her while driving by, and stopped to record her fading beauty with a camera. The photographer was a mother too and shared a weary moment of kinship with her.