Monday, April 12, 1999

A Fool's Garden

by Andy Erickson

Every spring I pull into my driveway thinking to myself, "Oh no, it's time to plant flowers again." I hate planting flowers. I suppose that's why last year I put my wife in charge of it.

"Why," I ask my brother (and personal landscaper), "do we purchase flowers every year that will only die in a few months?" But then my neighbors' daffodils began to bloom and sway in the breeze. My own hastas recently poked through the loosened earth. Then I began thinking about my investments in terms of these flowers.

I pondered annuals and perennials, plants and fertilizer, and lots of work vs. perennial bulbs that seem to take care of themselves. My investments, like perennial bulbs, seem to manage themselves over time. Every year they seem to mature and display a fuller beauty. Why on earth would I want to invest in a company only to have to fertilize it, water it daily, make sure it has the right amount of sun, and based on the conditions even uproot it only to plant it again during better conditions. Heck, I don't uproot my own flowers to replant them regularly. That would kill them. Oh, I guess that's my point.

But those perennials. Oh, those perennials. I plant them once. I wait. They bloom and blossom while I take a walk with my wife, while I play with my daughter, while I dream about my next child on the way. Meanwhile our family celebrates Halloween, the holidays, and the coming of spring. And our beautiful perennials have not only blossomed, they have spread, reproduced, and doubled in beauty.

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