The Determined Dahlia Bulb

I went into the cold storage room in the basement looking for a metal garbage pail.  We’ve had a problem with mice.

Two days ago Jon picked up a roll of toilet paper from the shelf in the bathroom and dry dog food cascaded out of the tube all over the floor.

Apparently, a mouse was using it for storage.

We put out traps and this morning when I went to the bathroom, I saw the trap on the other side of the bathroom, the mouse caught in it, still alive. I knew it wouldn’t live for long by the way it was caught in the trap, so I helped the mouse meet his end.

I will not go into details, it is not something I like to dwell on.

After this, I decided I needed to put the dog food bags into a container that mice couldn’t get into.  I can’t keep the mice from coming in (I clogged up many holes in the floor around the pipes coming up from the basement with steel wool which they can’t eat through) but I can keep them from using the dog food as an easy source of survival.

I knew there was a metal pail in the basement, I didn’t know about the dahlia bulb.

It must have fallen out of one of the bags I store the bulbs in when I got them out of the cold storage room in the spring for planting.

Sitting on top of the garbage can cover was a single shriveled dahlia bulb, its roots reaching out for sustenance, a red stem at least eighteen inches tall growing straight up towards the light coming in the small window, tiny green leaves sprouting at even intervals to its very tip.

What a marvel. What a beacon of hope and perseverance.

If not for that brave, adventurous mouse I don’t know that I ever would have seen it.

Needless to say, I planted the dahlia bulb in the dahlia garden.  I put it in the shade of the other flowers so it wouldn’t be shocked by the sunlight.   I surrounded it with a little metal fence to keep it safe from the chickens and cats.

I don’t expect it to flower but at least those heroic roots will be able to suck some nutrients from the soil.  And maybe the leaves will spread enough to pull in some sunlight.

It might be able to live its life cycle, if not fully, at least enough to experience life the way it is meant to be.

When I dig up the dahlias bulbs in the fall, I will put this one in a separate bag.  Next spring I’ll be sure to plant it in a place where I can watch it grow.

I don’t know if it will survive, but I’ll do what I can to help it along.  And I’ll remember the mouse that didn’t die easy.

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