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I dug a 40′ trench that we planted full of flower bulbs. After a long winter of ice, snow, cold and muck, the nifty row of tulips and daffodils by our driveway entrance will put hundreds of smiles on our faces regardless of any stink coming from politicians or the economy they destroyed.

Forty bucks combined with a couple hours of playing in the sunshine and soil is an excellent investment in a bright, cheerful Spring. While easy to overlook, the emotional pantry ought to be considered from time to time.

It is an interesting commentary on the times that a wide selection of bulbs were available all over town at 30%-50% off, at the end of bulb-planting season. Usually by now there is nothing left. The retailers clearly anticipated better sales than they got.

What happened?

What does planting bulbs represent?

Optimism. That we will be in the same house enjoying the first flowers of spring. That we have a couple of hours and a spare forty bucks to invest in adding cheer to the place we will be living in next spring.

Job losses are everywhere, high and growing. Foreclosures are everywhere, high and growing. Retail sales are nowhere, low and shrinking. The employees who outnumber the customers have a real uneasy feeling about the time between now and spring. Even the oratorical mastery of The Great Wizard flashing on the big screen isn’t dispelling that dark foreboding they are trying to ignore.

While not yet widely discussed, optimism for the near future is in short supply. Definitely not the feeling that inspires tulip planting in your current yard.