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If you snip a few of the blooms that grow on the garden edge with sharp shears. If you cut in pursuit of beauty, in the hope of bringing a small bit of it into the house. If you carry the cut flowers into the kitchen and lay them on the counter while you fill a jar with water,

you will find that you are host to, not only five fat hydrangeas, but also eight or nine upset ants, a pair of pale green grasshoppers, and one crisp brown beetle.

You will realize that you have not brought beauty in. What you have done is to disrupt an entire household, a whole bloom-dwelling. And what you will do next, as you—ruthlessly, ruefully—sweep insects into the garbage can, is

to long for your youth. For the time before you had children, before you loved, before you cared about anything but yourself.


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