In the summer of 1992, I wrote a short story titled “The Planter of Flowers.” Memory of its origin has long since faded from my mind, but the date hints at a possible connection.
Also in the summer of 1992, my wife, children, and I traveled from our home–then in the Chicago suburb of Streamwood, Illinois–to Wounded Knee, South Dakota for the annual Lakota Baha’i Conference. A do-it-yourself conference organized by adherents of the Baha’i Faith living on the Pine Ridge Reservation–one of the poorest areas in the nation–it offered locals a chance to meet and learn with a diverse group of Baha’is without expense.
“The Planter of Flowers” has no obvious Lakota connection. There is one mention of a character who looks like he could be native American, but that’s coincidental. The real connection is Baha’i. I’ve often wanted to work Baha’i elements into my stories, but seldom succeed. I can think of only three short stories where I’ve done so. If you knew what to look for, you’d find them hiding in my first two Howard County mysteries as well, and the next novel, Ice on the Bay, will include Baha’i characters. But given the number of stories I’ve written over the years, these are a paltry few, and this story is one of them.
I did try to sell the story, but by and large editors didn’t seem to get it. I later modified it, but still found some readers didn’t quite get it. I wonder if you will?
Let’s find out. Without further ado, here is “The Planter of Flowers.” Enjoy!