Trina lives in Eureka. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share with her at itybytrina@yahoo.com.


When it is time for a flower to bloom it will bloom. No amount of coaxing by yours truly will get that bud to open up any sooner than it’s appointed time. I know, I’ve tried.

I have this peony bush. Every year it gets big and leafy and sprouts these huge buds on healthy stems that temp me to cut a few off and bring them into my home to adorn our living space. Sounds pretty straight forward huh? Well that plant messes with my head every year and this year it seems bent on giving me a double dose of head messing.

See I know from the past that the flowers will not appear full and all flowery until the week of Memorial Day. I know from the past that the buds get big and start to tempt me with their dark red petals just peeking out from the green bud covered cups around the middle of May. I know that the buds are wrapped tight as a rubber band on one of those wind up balsa wood airplanes that you can get off the twirl town rack at your local dime store. But I, every year, spend an unnatural amount of time trying to coax one or two of those buds to open up to me sooner. Why?

Coaxing seems to be everywhere now that I think about it. Starting with babies. We try to get them to smile by coaxing them with tickling a foot. Or get a baby to say a first word by coaxing. Saying momma or daddy over and over to them. Getting right up in their face. Try either of those with an adult and see what it gets you?

Coaxing is really an art-probably learned at your mother’s knee. While she is coaxing you to eat your spinach. But coaxing is not to be confused with just plain learning. That stubborn peony growing in my front yard for instance. I can’t learn it to bloom. That is not only not possible, it is bad grammar too! You can teach a person how to coax, but you can’t coax a person how to learn. Just an observation. Let’s zip it along…

This coaxing really can be as frustrating as, well, trying to coax a snail out of its shell. But the rewards of winning a coax is grand. Coax out a snail and have the butter and garlic ready! But if say I wanted to capture and pet the one yellow kitten we have out of a mountain of black kittens that we seem to have acquired this spring, I might try coaxing the little guy with tuna. I would place the tuna on a paper plate, day after day in just the right spot. Each day I go back and the tuna is gone. So I coax him a little bit every day. Tuna, plate, coax. Tuna, plate, coax. Then one day I decide to wait for the soft fluffy guy to appear. He must appear, the tuna is gone every day.

I put out the smelly treat and wait. And wait. Soon I hear a rustling in the weeds by the paper plate. Then a nose. I say the universal here kitty, kitty phrase. And low and behold I have coaxed out a big ole tome cat that gobbles down the tuna spits at me and then runs away. Again, like that peony, my coaxing falls flat.

I won’t give up—or learn. I again this year have brought in a bud off the peony. In years past I have tried warm water in the vase. I tried 7-Up as I was told the sugar and bubbles will bring out the flower. I tried light, heat, dark, cold, flower food. I even sang to a promising young bud one year. It wasn’t pretty that year. Poor bud turned into itself like the feet of the Wicked Witch of the West did when that house fell on her!

As I sit here I am looking at this years’ peony bud winner of the coax-a-thon. Poor thing. It has been in a bud vase for about a week. I have changed the water in it each day. Cut off the bottom of the stem so it can suck water. Talked to it. Turned its little head towards the sun coming in the window. I must admit it has given a good try. It is about half opened, but closer to being a goner than being a flower. I will coax it a few more days then it will meet with its end. By that time it will be Memorial Day and I can go out and get fresh cut blooming peonies from the bush that coaxes me each year to come out and play, before it is time, early, too early to know any better. I may not learn, but I can be coaxed. Who know a flower could coax a human?!