Photographs of the California super blooms caught my eye this week. The colour and movement in these images feels like an invitation into life – past, present and future all contained in a single moment. Each stem, each petal, each leaf sings hurrah for life, yes to be here, yes to be alive, yes to be seeing, touching, feeling, tasting, smelling, thinking, hearing. I wanted to feast my eyes on the colours, to drink them in and then roll down the hillsides. I imagined those flowers swaying in the gentle wind and their fragrance exploded in my senses. Who knew the shot of wild joy to be experienced at the simple thought of nature’s remote exuberance?
These small moments have the potential to invite us into the sacred. Mary Oliver’s words for a summer’s day came to mind ..
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Then my attention came to the world as it is today, at capacity with senseless violence, habitat destruction, deepening inequality and the prospect of ever more climate events devastating homes and livelihoods across continents. Is it reckless to think and write about yellow and purple flowers when we live surrounded by so much that needs to change? What is our response to beauty and the sensory encounter it brings when we are simultaneously horrified and full of grief at world events? Perhaps these exquisite, fleeting glimpses of carefreeness are the very things that enable us to carry on, to believe in a better future and to work towards it. Perhaps this sense of aliveness is itself what’s needed … I wonder what is incumbent on those who see and feel this? What does the world ask of each of us right now?