Dec 12, 2017 by Renee Linnell
I sit outside on my patio and notice two orange poppies getting ready to bloom. Yesterday they were tiny green buds, but this morning the green has split and a vibrant orange shines through. As I drink my coffee the orange grows larger and larger until it overtakes the green completely, casting the green casing to the wet ground below. Two crumpled orange flowers emerge. Slowly at first, but then gradually expanding to tiny circles. They stand tall and proud on delicate stems. The bright orange creates such contrast in my garden of mostly yellow and purple and green, and I think how beautiful contrast is, how desperately we need it on this planet, how without diversity we would all be the same. We would be so bored. We would be so boring.

The next morning my sprinklers come on as I sit on my patio, drinking my coffee. I worry about the poppies. They are so delicate and the water is so harsh. In unison they turn their faces away from the water, they appear to shrink, and seem to hunker down together, waiting for the onslaught to end, which it does 15 minutes later. I check on them that night. They survived. And they grew. They are now more open. Almost as if they are singing with relief that the attack has passed.
I think about my spiritual path, about how the hardships of my life made me turn away from others, made me shrink, made me hunker down, but ultimately made me bloom more fully. I think of how desperate I was to become Enlightened and how I felt like living in my hunkered down, not fully bloomed state was hell. But, as I look at these poppies, I realize that “fully bloomed” to them means, “about to die”. They are gorgeous in this half bloomed state. They were beautiful as buds. And they were stalwart and amazing through the sprinkler attack. I leave them for the day and check on them that evening.

Day 3 and they are more open. In fact, they are fully open. They are radiant. And yet, I realize, they will fall apart tomorrow. And I think to myself, what is the rush? The end of this life journey is death. Why are we all in such a rush to get there? To be complete? To finally finish? I was in such a hurry to bloom. We hear over and over, “it’s the journey that matters, not the destination”, but yet I never fully got it. Until now. As I look at these wide open poppies, I sigh as I think cynically, Yeah, but this knowing won’t last. And I know I’m right. I will forget again. And rush again. And be so focused on the destination that I’m not enjoying the journey. But for now, I See clearly. And I close my eyes and savor where I am now, I savor this moment with my coffee on my patio, the same way I savor this last day with these wide-open poppies. And there is great peace in that. 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock by Saori Baba