- Martha Engeman
What is it about flowers? Unlike many things in our polarized world, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like flowers.There is something so joyful, hopeful and beautiful about watching flowers grow, bud and bloom.
Flowers fill our senses--their colors and shapes are a feast for our eyes, their scents for our noses, their petals for our touch, and some even taste good to eat. While we can’t hear flowers, we can hear the pollinators, like bees, who move in and around them. Flowers welcome us, provide us with solace, remind us we are loved, and bring beauty into our homes and lives.
After many years of wanting a dedicated flower garden, this year we made it happen. Dave and I excavated an area in our front yard near the walkway to our house and filled it with flowers. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see that garden every day. I watch the flowers, weed, water and just feel the joy of seeing them welcome me. I notice which ones are flourishing, and which need a bit more help. My flower garden literally connects me with the earth and gives me a deep appreciation for the circle of life.
I also enjoy flowers in my home. Several years ago when I was working at Procter and Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio, a co-worker of mine from the United Arab Emirates had flowers delivered to her apartment every week. I remember being awed and thinking that when my ship came in, I too would have fresh flowers in my home every week. Fast forward a few decades and with the help of Trader Joe's, I can buy myself fresh flowers without breaking the bank.
In the 1960’s the peaceful resistance to the Vietnam War became known as 'Flower Power'. Flowers represent peace and harmony, which is the antithesis of war. Participants in the ‘Flower Power’ movement were known as ‘Flower Children’. They would wear flowers as a symbol of peace, love and harmony and share them with others during mass demonstrations.
Lest we think that flowers are powerless, one interaction with the thorns on a rose bush will convince you differently. Some flowers have adapted to protect themselves. Yet, this protection is never aggressive. You don’t get pricked by a thorn unless you touch that part of the rose bush.
One of my favorite meditations that I have adapted from Thich Nhat Hahn is a flower meditation. As Hahn says, “Breathing in, I see myself as a flower. Breathing out, I feel fresh.” I wonder what would happen if we all embodied more of the qualities that we see in flowers. What if we derived our power from peace and harmony, instead of war? What if we shared more of our beauty and unique gifts with the world? What if we served as beacons of love and light for ourselves and each other? What if we created a world based on true flower power?