A week or so after Valentine's Day and then after Easter are good times to buy hyacinths and other bulb plants on sale at your local grocery store. I scouted them out yesterday and went back today, where the woman in the floral section offered me three hyacinths for the price of one. They'll bring pleasure for a few days in the big pot on the patio, while I'm waiting for the ones I've planted in previous years to come up. Then I'll put them in the ground for next year, near the base of a tree so I know where to look for them.
Each year I remember the story my mother told me, and the poem that goes with it. When she was a little girl, her older sister recited a poem to her. She loved it and asked her sister to write it down for her. "No," said her sister, "I'll teach it to you so you can memorize it. Then you'll have it forever."
The poem gets attributed to various sources, but I don't usually see it with the last three lines, as my mother taught it to me--having remembered it all her life, thanks to her sister:
If thou of fortune be bereft
And in thy store there be but left
Two loaves, sell one
And with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed the soul.
For well we know--
Tis not by bread alone
That man is fed.