Spatterdock

By Sharon O. Blumberg

PROMPT—No one noticed ...

During Summer when I was a kid, I gravitated to a pond near where I lived in Miller Beach. The warm summer weather tempted me to wander here, biking down a hilly road in my neighborhood. I often visited this pond by myself or dragged a willing friend. While there, I marveled at nature’s family members who lived here. Mysterious, green frog heads that peeked out of the water, twisted and gnarled-old trees, weeping willows, and water lilies.


Enchanted yellow lilies with sun-bright centers attached to long stems rested on the surface of the pond, as if beckoning to me. I had to get a closer look. But there was one problem. I felt the need to pick one. But how?


I breathed in the musky-scented water. The pond appeared shallow as I peered through the tadpole-filled crater that held natural treasures. With no hesitation, my feet took the plunge. I broke in my penny-loafer shoes by filling them up with water so fast, they transformed into size five un-anchored boats. They sloshed through the pond at full speed, reaching the lilies in the brownish-green water. I pulled as hard as I could, finally snatching up the flower. While catching my breath, I wondered if some mysterious sea creature might pop out of the pond to punish me for taking the lily. But no one noticed. There was no sign of anyone to forbid me from claiming my prize. Lily now in hand. Silence. Then I heard Birds chirping and frogs croaking. I dropped this treasure in the pocket of my damp shorts, and used all the muscles I could muster in my legs to bicycle up the hilly road home.


Once I arrived home, my mom laughed when I showed her the prize I revealed from my pocket.


“That’s such a comical-looking flower. Let’s put it in a glass of water and set it on the counter.” my mom said.


“Yeah. That’s a good idea. I wonder what kind of flower this is. I’m going to look it up in the encyclopedia,” I said while raising my voice in excitement.


I learned this was a pond lily called a Spatterdock. I read everything I could inhale on this lily. Not only did I fall in love with the flower, but I loved its name even more. Naturally, my lily withered and died sooner by me yanking it out.

This memory caused me to reflect as I look back to memories surrounding my children and in some cases, my grandchildren.

When my daughter was in sixth grade, I offered to help chaperone her first school dance. But her plea for me not to, changed it.


When my son was in third grade he turned to me as I was about to walk him into the doorway of his school building one morning, "You can go now,” he sweetly said as he walked through the door.


I wanted to hold onto my children, and keep them as close as the lily with the sun-bright center. And yet, I knew the lily was not meant to last forever, especially after yanking it out of its water home.


Now when I see Spatterdocks in ponds and lagoons along paths, I smile as I remember my initial encounter. Now, I leave them where they grow, no need to pick them. I silently wave bye with confidence as I turn around to leave them. These childhood beacons sway in the breeze, waving back to me.

 

Sharon O. Blumberg is a freelance writer and a retired school teacher having taught Spanish and Language arts for over 20 years. She enjoys reading, writing, spending time with her family, and going for long nature walks. She is married with two grown children and two grandchildren. She resides in the Austin area of Texas. Her website is: http://www.sharonoblumbergauthor.com