My last post was about seeing beauty in the mundane. This resonates particularly for me lately, but in an opposite way. It’s spring! My favorite time of year! I feel the surge of new life, and I want to bounce from thing to thing. But instead, I make myself slow down. I look. I notice. I look again.
It has to do with flowers, you see.
Here’s a fun little aside: Georgia O’Keeffe had her students stick their faces into flowers and look at them up close so they could see differently. I delighted in discovering this, because I’ve done it for a long time, long before I knew anything of O’Keeffe and her students.
Some of my artist friends seem a bit perplexed by my obsession with flowers. That’s OK. I don’t always get why they paint figures, either. We all have our “pull” that we must follow. Mine is to get up close in gardens and try to understand the mystery of those delicate and fleeting, yet oh-so-strong and commanding blooms that make a STATEMENT!
In the spring, that statement is particularly intriguing, almost a combination of child’s play and hard-earned wisdom. Life and death. Grace and humility and unselfconscious dancing and show-and-tell and secret-keeping that draws me in and never leaves me disappointed. “Hi!” Those blooms seem to say. “We’re here! So glad to see you again! You didn’t think that bad winter would seriously keep us down, did you?”
And then … without even a poof … they curl back into themselves and are gone.
It’s not about them as flowers. I think it’s the tension, the juxtaposition of opposing forces that fascinate me so. The clash of color and shape, shadow and light, movement and stillness, yet the harmony of bending to the rules of the universe that weaves it all together. How can I possibly capture this? Well, I can’t, of course. But I can search for a way to express its impact on me. I can wake up and notice what those flowers are trying to say, or, more accurately, what I imagine they might be trying to say. I can relish in the experience of showing you something you and I both might never have seen before.
And then I’ll look again and find something new. And try to express that as well.