Spring Flowers: A Profoundly Short But Healing Life

Suzette Standring
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Spring flowers are fleeting and fragile beauties. The metaphor for “living in the now,” is a crocus bloom. My dining room is alight in yellow forsythia and daffodils, budding azaleas, and shrub branches full of “pink, pearly thingies.” After 20 years I have a first-ever flower bower for my meal times.

Pandemic isolation highlights home comfort and who isn’t in desperate need of daily cheer?  But nature says life goes forward, with or without me, so I sit a while with passing blossoms. Everything changes.  Blink and you miss it.

In the past, The Schedule was my Stern Supervisor. I had little time to pick and arrange flowers, change the water, and besides, what a lot of fallen petals and leaves to sweep up later. 

It was optional work to be avoided. Besides, I could look out my window and see flowers blooming. Providing I looked out my window.  But my inner Supervisor often hissed, “Hey, you, get back to work!”

Everybody has slowed down, stayed in, and found creative perseverance.  Bonds with family and friends are stronger. I enjoy extra hours not having to shuttle back and forth to meetings and events, and surely nature enjoys a mutual break from crowds and gas emissions.  Is it just me, or has birdsong gotten a lot louder?

Adaptation teaches joy in do-it-yourself simplicity, like filling a room with flowers. You don’t need to own a big garden. Meet your neighbors and ask for a few azalea trimmings. Or  how about those rogue blooms growing on the wayside? Make a room lusher with budding green branches. 

I always sit for dinner with my husband, and now vases of petals and leaves create instant celebration on a weekday. Conversations start with, “Isn’t this beautiful?” instead of “Did you see what happened in the news today?” Sure, we still fume and struggle, notably, in the unflowered rooms, but meals served alongside springtime are a literal breath of fresh air.

When my granddaughters come for dinner, they will ooh and aah, as if we are picnicking in a garden. Soon, when vaccinated friends visit, our reunion will be even more magical surrounded by branches of blossoms. 

For however long it lasts. 

James 4:14 says:  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

The fear and uncertainty brought on by Covid-19 and past politics bring home to me that time on earth is brief, yet every day is a chance to offer beauty, solace and kindness to others, just like spring flowers.

This column ran in The Patriot Ledger (MA) on April 16, 2021.