Those who know me well know I am not a shopper. I am not drawn to malls, to boutique shops, to online shopping, to anything. Heck, in the last two years we have had both an upscale outlet mall and an Ikea open within 20 minutes of my house and I have yet to set foot in either of them.
So when a recent work group broke for lunch and we ended up at a restaurant with a gift shop attached, I cracked up when everyone else at the table announced they had to look in the gift shop before we went our separate ways.
I followed my colleagues up the stairs to the open, airy gift shop and looked around. Clothing and jewelry that way. Quilts that way. Decorative household items over there. Gift books and clever toys for children back there.
N was soon holding up a rhinestone encrusted watch. S was in the clothing, looking at colorful scarves. The other S was thumbing through a gift book on friendship. She explained her best friend had just lost her father, and maybe this would be good to send her. Then she turned over the book, looked at the price tag, and said "that's the cost of a shirt for my daughter, and school starts soon."
I wandered through the space, bemused. This was more exposure to items intended for sheer consumer consumption than I had experienced in months and months.
Wall plaques are big business in this shop. You know: heartfelt sayings painted or printed on wood to nail to your wall or prop up on your mantelpiece. Some of them were grouped by theme: Family, Autumn. There was one area of eclectic: some inspirational, some faith-based, some silly.
It was on the hodgepodge wall that I saw the one item in the whole gift shop that I actually looked at. "Looked at" as in touched it, looked at the tag, then thought "I don't need more stuff in my life." It was a small plaque, painted distressed bright white, with an Impressionistic dandelion splashed against the white. (I admit it: the brightly colored dandelion is what caught my eye). Underneath the dandelion were the words "some see a weed, I see a wish."
To my husband's dismay, I love dandelions. I love their brightness when they bloom, I love their airiness when they go to seed. I still love to pick the puffs and blow them into wishes. Warren is pretty vigilant about snapping their heads off and digging them out when one makes its way into our lawn, but every now and then one slips by his eagle eye. And if I am out walking and see one in an untended lot, I do my bit by dispersing the seeds.
I walked away from the plaque without any regret. As I thought at the time, I don't need more stuff. But the sentiment of weeds and wishes has stayed with me.
My next walk, I may just have to look for wishes.