Self Awareness: Flower Power

The path ahead is unclear, the path under my feet is unstable, so I find myself spending too much time looking at the path I have traveled, seeking the comfort of memories and ghosts.


The Alexander’s are gardeners.  It is in our DNA.  It must have come down through the generations.  My happy young years in Ohio were filled with planting, pulling weeds, harvesting, and my favorite tasks — helping Grandma freeze fresh veggies and the evening family tour of the yard, when we all walked out once a week or so to see what the plants were up to.

As I looked out my kitchen window this week, those lovely memories came flowing back.  Why?  Because right there in front of me are some of the plants that have been a part of my life for 50+ years.

Here's my Grandma's peony, it has traveled with me from Ohio to Kentucky to Virginia. Its roots reside in North Carolina and northern Virginia and South Carolina ... and I bet it is blooming in Ohio right now too.

And here is my Mom's iris. The minute my nose meets this bloom ... I am nine years old and all is right in the world for a moment.

Flowers are so fragile and yet so very strong.  They are a quiet to witness to our history.  Through their beauty we get to join in the history of others …

When I bought my house, the 90 year old gardener I was purchasing it from said, with a twinkle in her eye " Just wait till Spring for the surprise in the back yard." Here it is - pictures don't do this wonderful azalea justice.

And here is a hellebore that was given to me by a favorite employer when her husband's family home was sold. I had been their gardener for 5 years and this happy little flower reminds me of that special time in my life.

Memories can lock us in a cocoon or they can comfort us and guide us on our way.  Viewing our memories as complex living experiences offer us new paths for growth.  So maybe it isn’t so bad to take some time to remember, to hold dear what has gone before.  Maybe as we tend our gardens, we tend our souls and connect to those who have gone before.  Maybe they are sending us those lovely blooms to remind us that we are loved.

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