Stopping

So, they’ve been doing some maintenance at my base lately.  I kinda assume they’re always doing maintenance at my base: it’s where the top brass of all three military branches sit, plus a good chunk of the Ministry of Defense.  Visiting military personnel and diplomats come to my base usually.  So they like to keep maintaining it to look nicer.  That’s my assumption, anyway.

Recently they fixed up the area around the base’s main convenience store.  Took out stone and gravel, put down astro turf.  Added a couple small decorative trees.  I don’t end up *in* this convenience store very often, but it’s right between my office and the cafeteria, so I pass by it a lot.  Usually in a hurry.  Usually thinking about things.  Sometimes writing songs about Florida.  Actually, quite a few of these blog posts have found their genesis as I was walking to or from lunch.  In any case, I’m not paying too much attention to the surroundings.

Besides, astro turf?  I know it’s probably easier to maintain than real grass, but… why can’t they put down real grass?

But they had put in a few small trees as well, so that’s something.  There was one day this week when I passed and noticed one of the trees was blooming.  Little white flowers.  I know those flowers.  I’ve seen them in my grandparents’ backyard.  Seen them on license plates, in textbooks, in the supermarket… This flower was my state flower when I lived in the ‘States.

The orange blossom.

So I stopped.  And it took me a few seconds to realize why I had stopped, because it was a stupid reason.  The kind you don’t really want to admit to yourself.  But there it was: I had stopped to smell the flowers.

And suddenly I was home.  In my grandparents’ West Palm Beach backyard.  Looking at Florida license plates.  Studying state history.  Buying orange juice: the generic brand, because it’s better quality.

But there’s only so much time you can take to stop and smell the flowers.  I was hungry, after all.  So after I took my few seconds to absorb the scent of the tree, I stepped back, glanced around to make sure nobody was looking at me weird, and moved on to the cafeteria.

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