Three Hatted Ladies

Mar 28, 2019

As I knelt on the dew freshened grass, I was sure fairies and hobbits would soon be about. It was gnomish here too so I couldn’t rule them out. Positioning myself more in the midst of things always provides a different perspective. I dropped lower and began inching along on my elbows through the thick grass. Pink and white ballerinas looked me in the eye, dancing on the tips of their breeze-kissed stems. The tiniest miniature roses seemed a fit size to adorn Froggy’s vest as he went a courting.

“Hello,” I said to a tiny grasshopper that flitted past shaking off the morning dew. She was too busy to answer and rushed on to nibble a fresh shoot that had emerged during the coolness of the night’s air. A bee, trapped in dew drops, waited for the sun to dry it and prepare it for its pollen gathering flights of the coming day. “Wake up, wake up,” I said. “Hurry and be on your way!” I called. “Hurry before a bird finds you on his way to a worm!” But the bee was still too sleepy and just snoozed on in the gathering warmth of the morning sun.

“Hi there,” I said to a group of three petal-less poppies arrayed in front of their much newer and colorful cousins. “Why, good morning Sir,” came the energetic response! Slightly amused by the talking flowers, I continued with a question. “Well! Who are you and what are you doing in my garden?” I quickly asked. “Well yourself!”, they promptly replied. “We are the Three Hatted Ladies,” they pronounced as if any fool would be aware of their persona. “And, we were wondering what in our mother’s names you were doing in OUR garden!” they shot back. “Er, well…um, I was making some photographs this morning here in my yard,” I answered with a minimum of conviction.

To defray what seemed like a mounting of the upper hand, I said, “I’ve not invited any flower ladies to my garden, hatted or not. And besides, none of you are using Spanish which again creates doubt as to your authenticity since this is Ecuador.” But before I could think of what I might say next, the short one said, “No tienes suficiente Español para mantener una conversación completa con nosotros! We hear you everyday speaking with the gardeners. You need more study!” said the taller of the three.

I felt oddly humiliated having received my comeuppance from three flowers portraying themselves as hat wearing women. The back of my neck felt hot. My tongue was getting knotted. I blurted out, “Well then, how about a photograph?” and dropped my eyes to my camera resting on my folded forearms. “Why, how thoughtful of you!” they chortled in unison as the shutter released with a staccato burst.

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Later, in the early evening, I was working at my desk post-processing the garden images. Noticing all the vivid color on my monitor, Edie stopped by to look over my shoulder. “That’s really cool,” she commented, looking at the photograph of the three poppies. “I like the juxtaposition of the older, weathered poppies against the fresh and bright crop right behind them.” “Thanks Edie, that is cool,” I said. “But, you ought to hear them talk. They reprimanded me on my Spanish skills today and wanted to know what I was doing in their garden!”

My words were falling on retreating ears. The sound of padding feet caused me to look up and observe her shaking head as she left the room. Outside the window where I worked, I heard something. Rising from my work station, I peered out into the evening but I saw nothing. Not ready to abandon my convictions, I pressed my ear to the glass. Under the moonbeams, in amongst the flowers, tiny female voices laughed smugly to themselves.

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