Saturday, December 5, 2009

Reservation For One

“What are you in for?”

It has been a long time since I was asked that question and I hope I never hear it again. Yes, I have done jail time. It’s difficult to imagine by looking at me, but I have a record. A real record…no, not the vinyl kind, read by a needle to amplify music on a phonograph, the criminal kind.

It’s been five years since that awful day. Spring serves to remind me. Understand though, I’m not blaming spring at all; it’s one of the most pleasant seasons. Almost too pleasant.

It was in the spring of 2003, when I visited the California Poppy reserve. I was walking past the visitor’s center when a park ranger smiled, waved and told me the Goldfields were opening up. I was surprised because they were one of the most private families in our cul-de-sac…and how did he know them anyway?

I was amazed at the high density of poppy plants. It was as if God stroked the hillside with a brush dipped in vibrant orange paint. I followed the Coyote droppings along the trail and let my eyes drink in the majesty of the blooming Filaree and Blue Dick. I really must research the history of the latter. It caught me by surprise, as I watched a Monarch butterfly swooping and hovering. I felt an intense urge to pick one of poppies… and so I did, automatically and without thought. One led to another and I must have slipped into some kind of addictive compulsion that had been lying dormant. Before I knew it, I was clutching a bouquet that I don’t even remember picking. Of course, the park ranger didn’t accept this explanation and the next thing I knew; I was being finger printed, booked and looking at a possible jail sentence of two to five years.

How could this be? It wasn’t as if I had received an illegal stock market tip or anything as horrendous as that. I picked some flowers for God’s sake. They were there, they were pretty. Still, I was forced to register as a PPO, protected poppy offender. I’m not allowed to come within a hundred yards of a protected flower…ever.

I shared a jail cell for about twenty minutes with Kiersten, a young woman who was looking at three years for illegally duplicating a DVD of Sing Yourself Silly, by the Muppets. She may have had a hefty fine to pay as well. I will have to register with to look her up. I’m curious to know what happened to her and I don’t want to wait until the ten-year reunion to find out.

I’ve since joined a twelve-step program for my flower picking addiction. I have a sponsor and attend meetings regularly. She makes me stay away from the floral section of the supermarket and return arrangements sent to me by admirers. I still get a giddy feeling when I pass the Goldfield’s garden but I found if I begin to skip and whistle zippity doo dah, it takes my mind off my PU’s (picking urges).

Thank God, there are places that we deviants can go to recover from hopeless states of mind and body. In fact, I think California is one of many states that protect these brilliant orange, cup-shaped wild flowers. Just watching these nearly indestructible perennials with their electrifying and vibrant colored petals fluttering in the soft spring breeze causes me to quiver. My pulse has quickened, so it might be a good time to give my sponser a call.
I'm back, she didn't appreciate my idea of growing my own poppies in the rich soil of my deserted garden in the back yard. She reminded me that I am a poppyholic and that even thinking of growing flowers of any kind is a slippery slope and could trigger a craving that no human power could rescue me from. She's right.

Unless you grow your own, and consider yourself lucky if you have control over your urges, please enjoy California poppies where they are most well-suited....gracing the beautiful California countryside.

No comments:

Post a Comment