I often get asked the question by people who know I am the neighborhood character who goes around taking pictures of everyones' flowers "What is your favorite flower?" My answer typically is "The last one I photographed." When I started this blog nearly four years ago, my intention was to opine on life's inane nonsense and preach about correct economics. I still do some of that, but mostly my blog has turned, unintentionally, into a flower blog. Once I started taking pictures of flowers and then editing and posting them and printing them and emailing them and giving them away and making photo cards of them, I realize that flowers had saved me during a rough patch in my life. How can one be angry and sad and disappointed when looking into the heart of a rose? And so I went on a journey in search of flowers: roses, tulips, hollyhocks, pansies, fenstemon, iris, apple blossoms, redbuds, wild roses, blossoms on weeds, purple thistle crowns, cactus blossoms, petunias, geeraniums, mums, snapdragons, marigolds, zinnias, daffodils, narcissus, crocus, dahlias, gladiolas, alfalfa and clover blossoms, rosemary blooms, the flowers on desert shrubs, poppies, and on and on and on. So today I thought about my life's journey through a flower laden path, through gardens rimmed and crowded with blossoms of every color, formal and random, with palettes of brilliant colors in every direction, and wondered which flower I could identify as my favorite flower.
Oh, I thought day before yesterday when I saw oceans of brilliant white blossoms brightening the sky, these white blossoms must be my favorite flower.
But then a day went by and I saw the redbuds in bloom and I thought, what could be more beautiful than these pinkish-red blossoms?
Then I remembered the poppies from last year, glorious in red against the puffy white clouds and blue sky and I thought, "Poppies must be my favorite flower."
But could I forget the pink rose with drops of water when I feel sad?
And then, I remembered "the little flower that lasts an hour", my neighbors pristine white cactus blossoms that preen in beauty for a few hours and then disappear.
And so many, many, many others. They are all my favorites. How can one prefer one beautiful creation over another? The tiny flowers that bloom on weeds. The nostalgia and affection engendered by wild roses. We give flowers for expressions of love. A surprise of a $2.99 bouquet from the grocery store works as well some times as a $50 bunch of gorgeous roses. We give flowers to the sick, to help people heal. We give flowers to the sad to help them find cheer. We give flowers to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, the birth of children to honor the milestones of life.
We look at flowers, we study flowers, we ponder their intricate designs and perfect composition, and we thank God for such splendid creations that calm us, heal us, make us smile, and make us feel that life is worth living. But we must never, never take a flower for granted. Even a daisy that has lost nearly all of its petals has some redeeming virtues, in life as well as in a bed of flowers. Perfect beauty is stunning in a perfect flower, but not all flowers are symmetrical, without blemish. And, if we look carefully, we see beauty and redemption in every flower that blooms, every blemished blossom, and every troubled person. So, what is my favorite flower? I'll let you know if I ever find one.