my mind’s on mullein

There’s a mullein patch growing along the side of my future driveway — three tall, thick-stemmed, and blossoming plants. As I understand it, this tenacious weed blooms every other year. All around the three bloomers are scattered plants that must be yearlings — all leaves, no blooms, and — I notice as I pull up next to the building — battered into the ground by the hard rain that just finished falling, taking the electrical power with it.
I have brought my mother to her/our new digs. It’s hot, humid, it’s almost sunset. And the power is out.
We make do.
The space in which she will be living is a lot smaller than the two-bedroom suite she had in the upscale old folks home out of which I am still moving us. The garage bay where I should park my car is filled with her boxes and furniture that won’t fit in her new space. She wants all her things, she complains. And complains.
I’m hot. I’m tired. I had to do all the packing, help with the moving. I lose my temper. If you had to go into Assisted Living, I tell her, you wouldn’t be able to take hardly any of this stuff. Here you have two kids are are willing to take care of you and all you think about is your crappy furniture.
I stand by her window and watch the local humingbird flutter around the red and yellow feeder that my brother put up right where she could sit at her table and watch the little miracle. Some mourning doves tussle over bits of bird food that have fallen from the bird feeder as a cardinal pecks away at the stash.
In the morning, the mullein plants that had been beaten down by the rain are happily drying and flexing in the sun.
I think about our former 92 year old neighbor with crippling and painful arthitis who occupied my mother while the major furniture pieces got moved out. I’ve been taking her grocery shopping once a week. Her only son lives in California. Somehow she manages life on her own. She rarely complains, and even then it’s about her arthritis. She was a great help with my mother, even though my mother is younger. I hope that she finds someone to take her grocery shopping.
Tonight, I’m back in my old one-bedroom apartment, faced with cleaning out my mother’s suite tomorrow. It’s still cluttered with stuff I hope she forgets about because I’m going to throw it away.
Coming full circle, it seems, I arrived back here tonight to a 250 unit building in which the power was out.
On top of that, my poor cat hadn’t eaten in more than 24 hours because, although I had filled her food dish, I had left it on the counter. She was either too well trained or too stupid to seek it out herself.
The long days are far from over. Still much to move down to the land of the mullein and hummingbird.

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