The little cardboard carton had a yellow sticker afixed to its side, indicating a much-reduced price. The wilted shoots did not look hopeful. The bin of dying flowers was destined for the supermarket’s trash, yet amongst them there were plants… a cyclamen and a pot of miniature daffodils. The cut flowers were dying because they had been cut from their roots, disconnected from their source of life. The plants, however, were simply dying through lack of care. For the price of a loaf of bread, I brought them home.
I fed, watered and trimmed them, gave them light and warmth. I talked to them too. It may or may not help the plants, but it helps me. It creates a connection by acknowledging their life and being… and through that connection comes a commitment to their care. After weeks of one-sided conversation, the cyclamen has answered and graces my desk with its pristine beauty bringing a touch of luxuriant frivolity to the day. It looks like a flock of white birds fluffing their feathers above the mottled leaves, or a bevy of cancan dancers showing their petticoats… and it is glorious.
The tiny daffodils have grown and opened their delicate petals to the sun. I spent a long time trying to get a decent picture of them, but the petals just caught the pale morning light, shining too brightly to capture the details. In the end, the flowers won, laughing back at me as I gave in and let them play with the light.
As I was taking them back to their place on the kitchen windowsill, I wondered about the first day of spring. According to the weather, the calendar and our labelling of the vernal equinox, spring will not officially begin until the end of March here. Someone really ought to inform Mother Nature of that, as it seems She has it all wrong.
The sparrows are building nests and seeking mates in the guttering above the door, taunting the dog with their cheerful voices. There are green shoots emerging from the earth and tight buds appearing on the trees. Odd pockets of spring colour are already beginning in sheltered places. Even the days are lengthening, slowly but surely emerging from the midwinter darkness. Nature is impatient and growth is burgeoning all around; new life springing from her dark womb..
But we, who see Nature through the glass of our windows and cars more often than not, still call it winter. We huddle indoors, enduring the cold, waiting for a spring that has already begun. Through my window I saw the moon, sailing the morning sky above the rooftops. It was framed by the daffodils, suddenly no more than shadowy silhouettes; a colourless urban landscape that seems to have become disconnected from Nature.
We look at it… as through a window, but for much of the time we are far from feeling ourselves to be part of Nature. Yet her rhythm and cycles affect us just as much as any plant. Our moods change with her seasons, our bodies, minds and hearts respond to her moods and her ever-changing beauty. Not for nothing do we call her Mother.
I wonder if we are like the flowers dying in the supermarket bin? Have we lost our roots by cutting ourselves off from the rhythm of Nature and the source of our own life? Or are we the plants, struggling and only tenuously rooted in arid soil, yet needing only a little care to heal the damage? Maybe we just need to be on the other side of the glass.