Friday, June 24, 2011

How I Learned to Appreciate the Beauty of Flowers

After taking someone to the airport this morning, as I was driving up the freeway, I happened to glance up at the sky and I gasped. The beauty of the deep blue sky and bright white cloud formations "are to die for", I thought. As soon as I had that thought I quickly returned my eyes to the road...but my day was a little brighter for having seen such beauty.

Later in the day, driving through town, I saw a deep-red vintage Corvette convertible...the kind to "ooh" and "ahh" over! (Is there any other kind?).

Although I've always loved a beautiful sky or a car with beautifully designed lines, yet, flowers somehow had escaped me until recently. Not that I didn't appreciate them, but only with a passing nod. After all, I couldn't grow them (not being a gardener type), and can only identify a few types. Recently that passing nod changed. Perhaps it's because I no longer have babies' faces to take my breath away, or maybe the greater appreciation of visual beauty is simply a gift given to me in middle age.

A few months ago, when a friend gave me a bouquet of yellow carnations, I worked to see how long I could make them last. I trimmed the stems, refreshed the water; when some began to wilt I removed them and put the remaining ones in a different vase...not just once but moving down to a smaller vase two or three times. I think the beauty of those flowers lasted for nearly three weeks and, as I nurtured them, I discovered a new-found appreciation for flowers.

"Maybe I could learn to grow plants," I mused. Then I realized this is the time of my life to grow my strengths, not to tackle a weakness that has had a half century to take root. But why not buy bouquets at the grocery store now and then? Why did I never think of that before, thinking I had to appreciate flowers only when my husband or one of my children bought me flowers? There may have been a reason for that thinking. When our oldest children were little I didn't want to pay for flowers when I had little mouths to feed. But also, I think at that time you had to buy flowers from the florist and pay much more for them. It is one of those many examples that paradigms can change over time.

"You would spend more money gardening," my sister told me when I told her recently that I thought I would buy bouquets regularly to enhance our apartment home. Last weekend, I bought yellow roses for just $4.50 at Trader Joe's. They "only" lasted for less than a week but there were other flowers with them, and those other flowers (even if I don't know their names) continue to brighten our dining room and our lives.

Thank you, God, for the beauty of flowers. Thank you for helping me to understand that I can enjoy them without feeling guilty that I can't participate in growing them nor that I might not even know all their names. Thank you that, just as You made a great variety of flowers, so you also lovingly gave your children a great variety of talents.

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