A PHP Error was encountered

Severity: Notice

Message: session_start(): Server 216.70.100.53 (tcp 11211) failed with: Connection refused (111)

Filename: cowbird/session_helper.php

Line Number: 18

They eat the flowers by Richard Keeling
 

Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • Pete's delightful deer story this morning took me back to a cold winter's evening in Jefferson Barracks Cemetery in St. Louis a few years ago.

    I was looking at the sad sight of row upon row of graves, many dating back to the Civil War but many also of far more recent provenance. Some of these newer graves were marked by flowers in remembrance, placed there earlier in the day.

    Bright and colorful, these offerings of love and respect to a lost relative.

    To us, sacred and moving.

    To a deer, food.

    As the park emptied and light darkened, herds of deer began to move among the grave stones.

    Nosing, sniffing - do deer enjoy the scent of a rose? - and then eating those reverent flowers.

    For them, no association whatsoever with melancholy of the cemetery and stones laid therein.

    I felt a strange mix of emotions as I watched this, for the simple act of devouring the flower turned its meaning on its head.

    An offering, yes, but of quite a different nature from its original intention.

    But, really, was it any less meaningful?

    It was giving life.

    If anything, it was more so.
    • Share

    Connected stories:

About

Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.