It seems that I’m becoming more comfortable with embracing challenges these days. With that in mind, I’m embracing the A-to-Z Blogging challenge, by writing about the things that I most closely associate with being alive, when I show up and engage with life as fully as possible.
And with that, I give you:
I love the scent of jasmine. The almost intoxicating floral that seems to stray just enough into a pleasant mixture of spice frosted with soft musk makes me happy beyond reason. I love the flower itself, too. It seems so delicate relative to the strength of its scent. I love the seeming contradiction, but then I like contradictions in general.
I love flowers. One of my favourite memories of a trip I took to Spain several years ago was how heavy the air was with the perfume of magnolias. Resting beneath trees that were brought back from the Americas, some of the magnolia trees in Seville are hundreds of years old. Vibrant, joyous planters hanging along white plaster walls, spilling over with splashes of red and yellow, deep purples that seemed almost black and variegated leaves, chrysanthemums, petunias – I couldn’t name all the flowers. I could barely take in all the colours.
I remember walking through the Stadtpark in Vienna in summer, pausing to enjoy the statue of Johann Strauss – it is such a playful image of him, light, and full of good humour. I paid homage to Schubert as well, reflecting on how much I loved singing his Mass in G Major. Later that same evening, sitting in the formal rose garden behind a hotel just off the Ringstraße and listening to Strauss waltzes while sipping a glass of champagne. I’m still not sure if it was the champagne that went to my head or the swirling mix of roses and lavender and other scents that left me giddy. It was a lovely evening, though. I didn’t want it to end.
Flowers. They remind me how important it is to slow down, to pay attention. It is such a fine line between the peak of the blossom and its decay. Such a short time from bud to full blossom. Each phase is lovely in its own way. Even the droop of age, petals falling to the ground to feed the blossoms to come. Each one reminding me that there is nothing about life that is stagnant. We are always giving birth to something, growing into the maturity of something else or letting go of that which will feed the next thing to come. They also remind me that like the magnolia trees of Spain, there are seeds I plant today that will have echoes in the years to come. I may not see it, but my influence has reach. All I have to decide is what kind of scent do I want to endow to the future?