Saturday, 8 October 2016

Far from Perfect

The winter storms have come early. Late in the afternoon yesterday, we were battered by high winds and huge bursts of rain that rattled our windows and lasted all night long. It was a good evening to stay inside.

It was not a good night for the plants, however.  This morning, when we drew back the curtains, we saw the devastation. The dahlias and sunflowers that were still brightening our fall garden were bent and broken.

The sunflower was a goner, laying flat against the ground. This was very sad. It had had a hard life. We planted it in the wrong place to begin with, up against the house wall. It struggled to find enough water to thrive, and during the early summer, we pretty well wrote it off. It was hiding behind some climbing beans, and we forgot it was there. But lo and behold, when the heat of August arrived, it grew ... and grew... and grew. Early in September, we roped it to the downspout. When we left for a two week trip, it had reached the roof. When we came back, it had stretched its bonds and was leaning out over the grass, its many floral heads held on curved stems, stretching out and reaching  for the sun up above. Both the RS and I became the sunflower’s cheerleaders. We jerry-rigged a support structure to prop it upright, and found stronger, unstretchable ropes to hold it there. Its stem was now thicker than my arm, and its top was covered with dozens of buds and flowers.

In the secret language of flowers, sunflowers stand for happiness. That’s how we felt every time we saw it. You go, girl, I said.

But now, the storm had knocked out the supports, and the stem had toppled, pulling out the roots.
What to do?

This is what I did:

The bouquet of bruised flowers joins the last of our produce: imperfect apples and tomatoes not quite ripe. And all quite lovely.
 Sure, the flowers were battered and bruised, with torn petals and twisty stems. But together in that vase, if you didn’t look too closely at the details,  they created a bouquet that will brighten our Thanksgiving table. A perfect rose standing alone in a silver bud vase can’t compete with this gathering together of colour and vibrancy.

As I picked each twisted stem and put it into the vase, I admired its tenacity and thought about how much these happy flowers  can teach us about life. We are all of us a bit battered and bruised and torn up. We’ve had to struggle against adversity, and had the opportunity to grow and become stronger for it. Some of us even now are trying to stay upright as we fight the good fight. And yet, each one of us, with our scars and imperfections, is beautiful. Together we can bring joy to the world and to each other.

And for this, and for so much more, on this weekend when we celebrate Thanksgiving day here in Canada, I give thanks. For all of you, beautiful flowers in my garden, for all the crooked people trying to stand upright, for all the far-from-perfect people who surround us in our communities, who are willing to come together to be more than we are individually, I give thanks. Thanks a lot!

Here's Raffi's simple and yet beautiful song of celebration for all things:

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