You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘flowering’ tag.

On my way to the front door, I noticed a red flickering among branches of boxwood hedges outside my front window, rollicked by April’s sun-washed breezes—unlike anything I had ever seen before. My heart quickened.

Planted in my flowerbed was a pair of red tulips, their petals full-blown, their color speaking of love.

Then, I remembered. Three years ago, I’d had such a surprise; only then, it was daffodils. When my gardener-friend had prepared my garden and shrubs for that winter, she’d planted the daffodils. It took a while for me to catch on.

Her professional and loving care of my property taught me about flowers and shrubs that further enhanced my home. Her spirit seemed to brighten the harder she worked, often soaked to the skin, her floppy sunhat tied under her chin, her belt of tools swaying with her movements. Lugging yard waste heaped atop a tarp to her white truck signaled the end of that day’s work, not without sweeping the walks and sharing stories about her grandchildren.

What recently impressed me was her disclosure of prayer with Creator God as she clipped, raked, pulled, dug, watered, planted, and mulched. No wonder such orderliness and beauty have followed in the wake of her gloved hands.

I’m grateful, but the red tulips enjoying today’s sun express it better to Peg, my gardiner-friend.

Each spring, an ancient fresco stirs my imagination and relocates me to another world in which greening is paramount.

Only 38 x 22 cm in size, the fresco depicts the Roman Goddess Flora, barefoot, her back to us as she plucks a white flower from a nearby tree to add to the basket in her other arm. Her full figure suggests pregnancy, fathered by the Spring Wind, Zephyrus. Their story is recorded in Metamorphoses (8 BCE) composed by the Roman poet Ovid.

An unknown artisan fashioned this fresco of Flora upon the one of the bedroom walls of the Villa Arianna in Stabiae, a wealthy seaside resort known for its architecture, frescoes, and statuary. Unfortunately, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in southern Italy, 79 CE., buried the resort and neighboring towns under five meters of tephra ash where Flora remained until 1749; then, archeologists under the initiative of Charles III of Spain discovered Flora and numerous other artifacts that were later restored to the National Archeological Museum of Naples.

Yet, there’s something about Flora’s graciousness, stopped in time for our continued reflection. Perhaps that unknown artist caught her splendor-in-living for which she was revered, first by the Greeks under the name of Chloris, then, Romanized by Flora. Her devotees glimpsed in her the continuation of flowering, both plants and themselves, critical for survival.

Within such freshness and delicacy as Flora images, I glimpse Eternal Spring for which we all yearn—Thus her appeal through the centuries.

Today’s observance of Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. Instead of Christians receiving ashes traced upon their foreheads in the sign of the cross, the priest will sprinkle ashes on their heads while admonishing those gathered, Remember, that thou art dust and into dust shalt thou return. Since I’m moving ever closer to that dust, I wonder how the austerities of Lent originated. During my long life, significant changes occurred in 1963, with the publication of Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. Even lesser austerities are practiced today.

Research reveals that in 321 AD, the Council of Nicaea promulgated the practice of Lent for the universal Church. And St. Jerome (d. 420) and the church historian Socrates (d. 433) also assumed the apostolic institution of the forty days of fasting before the celebration of Christ’s resurrection.

Further research into this question over ensuing centuries, however, reflects conflicts: the length of the fast, whether to fast on Saturdays and Sundays, amounts of food, when to eat, what to eat, where to fast—culminating in councils and official decrees filling libraries.

Such reveal the woeful grasp of the instinctual world of our humanness and of Jesus’s Kingdom living—found in the Eight Beatitudes, as well as in the Twelve Steps. Practicing any of them deflates egos and promotes humility and obedience of heart, antidotes for the Covid-19 scourge and for so much more. Such flowerings do occur, even during Lent, itself derived from the Anglo-Saxon word lencten, meaning “Spring.” So no need to give up anything, instead, receive graced direction. It’s always there…

Available on Amazon

%d bloggers like this: