Tuesday, October 13, 2009

End of summer dance

I happened upon this photograph of a dandelion and was captivated by the perspective and the geometry that exists. When I was small, I could sit and gaze at a clover flower with much the same fascination, noting how the whole flower was composed of hundreds of smaller blooms clustered together. This particular photograph, depending on how your eye lands on it, looks like endless possibilities beyond the humble dandelion puff. My eye sees fireworks against a black night sky, exploding in lacey, dazzling plumes. Another glance shows me a marine sea creature, with tentacles floating in dark water, illuminated with soft phosphorescence. I also see a whirl of space, a nimbus cloud or galaxy perched quietly in a black void. I blink and now I see images that I created as a child with a Spirograph set that entertained me for countless hours with shapes and colors.

All of the above are evoked by one of nature's most humble flowers. Some might call it a weed, a nuisance in carefully constructed and ruthlessly pruned landscapes. Others might see the dandelion as a nutritious additon to salads and dinners. The most delightful aspect of all of this is that one little humble plant is so many things to so many people, spanning a range of beauty, practicality and annoyance. That is a lot to accomplish for one brief summer lifespan!

The analogy that comes to mind here is that all of us are just a slightly different version of that dandelion puff. We represent so many faces to the world. We are, at various times that brash, bright yellow flower, planting ourselves with pluck and courage in a brand new yard, daring to grow, plant roots and thrive. In that process, we subject ourselves to the possibility of getting ripped from that safe, cozy environment, or perhaps run the risk of getting mowed down on a regular basis, only to rise once again to the rays of the sun with new blossoms and glossy leaves outspread. At times, we become the mature culmination of the flower, turning into a soft, gray cloud with delicate, fragile limbs that are lifted up on the wind to drift away in gentle silence. Rather than a sad moment, this is one to celebrate, as the brief ending of that moment gives birth to a new life, new growth, new roots and flowering elsewhere in a new yard. Life, as we all know, is an endless series of starting over, growing and learning. Nature embraces this concept with quiet, calm and a sure march across the planet that we all share.

When I begin to feel the approach of change, I am often drawn to the dandelion's end of summer dance....fluffy white seeds being coaxed free to waltz and drift on the wind, casting fortune to the vagaries of errant breezes. My goal is to be that willing to go with the flow of a Divine purpose in my life, rather than dig my heels in and attempt to control where my own personal dandelion seed might land. This is an exercise of inner strength for me, as I learned long ago that releasing control is far more empowering. Studying the photograph above brings a sense of stability to the whole process that makes me smile. A simple flower exhibiting beauty and purpose at all stages of life.

Where am I in my own life, with my own putting down of roots, or perhaps ripping them up and moving forward in growth process, or riding the breezes of change? I am contemplating my own end of summer dance with curiosity and excitement to know what new stage is being set, what new flowering will occur. I would like to think that a portrait of my own purpose would invite as many different perspectives as the dandelion puff above, painting a mosaic of stories, images and emotions.

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