Saturday, October 15, 2011

R.H. Series, Day 11 (Wabi Sabi)

Last Saturday was a perfect Indian Summer day. I clipped 3 immaculate hydrangeas from the bush in my front yard and placed them in an elegant, clear green glass vase and set them in the entryway on a vintage serving cart where they could be seen by anyone from the open front door. I was having guests on my porch, so I thought the flowers would be a nice touch. I prefer to allow blossoms to live, so I rarely cut them.

In just a week it has turned much cooler, although today you could still feel the warmth of the sun if you paid very careful attention between strong gusts of wind. Yesterday the lawn was uniformly covered with a blanket of orange leaves, and I thought to take a picture but didn't. Today all of the leaves were blown to one side and heaped onto the porch steps, leaving the lawn asymetrical, imperfect. This is the time of Wabi-Sabi, the Japanese aesthetic and philosophy of imperfect Beauty. Because nothing lasts, there is bittersweet perfection in the fading of the flower.

I love hydrangeas. They were the primary flowers in my wedding bouquet. A tangled web of vines had grown over my bush, and I had intended to cut it back, but I guess I was just lazy. Today I had to admit that though all of the rain we got a few weeks ago extended their glorious blossoming, they were just beginning to fade, and I suddenly found myself with a pair of scissors in hand, cutting away at the vines, which were on their way out anyway. The largest hydrangea remaining, once freed from the weight of the vine, rebounded majestically. Except for the slightest beginnings of browning, it is still in the fullness of its bloom, and I did not cut it.

I felt in awe of these flowers, which despite the oppression of greedy vines had held their own, used to bowing their heads naturally, daring to peek out in their lushness of awesome shades of pink and pale green, unconquerable. Their beauty was too profound to be hidden. Like that children's church song, "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine... Hide it under a bush--oh no! I'm gonna let it shine." I cut several of the browning blossoms but left a few to tough it out to the end. I may bring that big one in soon and dry it, keeping it as a memento of what I learned today.

What or who is weighing you down? What has you all tangled up inside? Are you hiding your beauty underneath, afraid to cut out everything in your life, and yourself, except for what you know to be beautiful, useful, good, or necessary? I am the hydrangea. You are the hydrangea. Remember. Never forget.

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