Do you remember the first time a flower grabbed your heart? Did you touch its petals, breathe in its intoxicating scent, perhaps look at it from a distance, and then walk forward to observe it from a closer range? Did you ever ponder over why flowers matter?
The Birth of Flowers
In a National Geographic Article, authored by Michael Klesisus, he writes that flowers first appeared over 130 millions years ago, during the Cretaceous period. In geologic times, this is relatively recent. Klesisus says that” if all Earth’s history were compressed into an hour, flowering plants would exist for only the last 90 seconds. But once they took firm root about 100 million years ago, they swiftly diversified in an explosion of varieties that established most of the flowering plant families of the modern world.”
“Today flowering plant species outnumber by twenty to one those of ferns and cone-bearing trees, or conifers, which had thrived for 200 million years before the first bloom appeared. As a food source flowering plants provide us and the rest of the animal world with the nourishment that is fundamental to our existence.
In the words of Walter Judd, a botanist at the University of Florida, “If it weren’t for flowering plants, we humans wouldn’t be here.” “Flowers were a dramatic change that represents one of the great moments in the history of life on the planet. ” Eventually the first flowers reached a tipping point and the earth became filled with a riot of color and scent all over the planet.
Flowering Plants Played An Essential Role In The Evolution of Our Species
Eckhart Tolle, in his book, A New Earth, writes about how “those delicate and fragrant beings we call flowers would come to play an essential part in the evolution of our species – humans. And how we would be drawn to them.” “As the consciousness of human beings developed, flowers were most likely the first thing they came to value that had no utilitarian purpose for them, that is to say, was not linked in some way to survival.”
“They provided inspiration to countless artist, poets, and mystics. Jesus tells us to contemplate the flowers, and learn from them how to live. The Buddha is said to have given a ‘silent sermon’ once during which he held up a flower and gazed at it,” says Tolle.
Earliest Memories of Flowers Can Be A Profound Experience
My earliest memory was when my family, in our blue impala chevrolet, pulled into the long driveway of our new home. It was a large, white clapboard house with a stately weeping willow taking center stage on the front yard. I was an 8 year old girl who had just flown thousands of miles from Dallas, Texas to Rochester, New York.
I was taken aback by what looked like to me – as a child – a rambling mansion. When I opened the backdoor of the car, with my gaze still focused on the beauty of where we were going to live, I felt my leg brush up again something. I looked down to see a few large purplish-magenta petals tickling me.
My eyes went straight to the flower in its entirety- a brazen, outstanding peony in full bloom. In a split second, I saw that there weren’t just a few blooms but at least a dozen peony bushes lining the strip of land that separated the neighbor’s driveway from ours.
I was mesmerized. I crouched down, put my nose up to the flower, and inhaled deeply. Its scent was intoxicating. That moment was the beginning of my love affair with peonies.
Cut peonies became the mainstay of my mother’s late spring bouquets, along with lilacs, which quickly became my favorite flowering bush. I loved nothing more than when she took out a cut crystal vase from the cupboard and asked me to cut some peonies and arrange them in the vase. With a sharp scissors in hand – I didn’t even know that pruners existed back then – I surveyed which ones I’d include in my living work of art.
Throughout the years, I experimented with mono-and multi colored combinations, buds ready to burst open, and those in robust bloom. The peonies, sitting on our dining room table with the late afternoon sun streaming through the bay window, came into their glory at the tale end of their bloom – after a few petals had fallen on to the table. It was because of the row of peonies lining the driveway of our home, 54 Chadbourne Street, that a door was opened which allowed me to experience a deep love and appreciation of the beauty of flowers
9 Tips On How To Appreciate Flowers
1. Buy one flower. Put it in a place where you can sit and gaze at it.
Take time to meditate on it and say~ “I am beautiful – like the flower’. Use that phrase as your mantra throughout the day.
2. Create a sacred space. It should be a space that you can claim as your own and have some privacy.
Place some flowers in a few vases. I like to use slender, small containers that hold only one or two flowers. Add some candles or other things that have meaning to you ~ perhaps some stones, shells, a piece of drift wood, pine cones, a small figure ~ anything that grabs your heart and will help transform this area into a sacred one.
This space is your altar. Meditate for 10 minutes a day or more on anything that will give you a feeling of peace and gratefulness. One of my favorite ways of beginning a meditation is to spend time focusing on each object on the altar and saying ‘Thank you God for creating the beauty that has been bestowed on me.”
3. Buy some flowering houseplants and place in different rooms.
Check them daily to note their growth and their life cycle from budding to full blooms to deadheading.
4. Develop a nurturing relationship with plants.
When you water, deadhead the flowers, clip off dead leaves, and send love to the plant. Touch each plant with love and compassion. Take a few moments to be grateful for the beauty and ‘nutrition for your soul’ that it has brought into your life.
5. Plant flowering seeds outside.
When buying seed packets, take time to select the flowers that speak to you. Sowing them in the earth and watching them grow to maturity and then burst into bloom is magical. Since I was a child, my favorite seeds have been sunflowers. Every year when I open the packet, I feel like a kid who has just been given a gift that I can’t wait to unwrap.
6. Give cut flowers to friends, neighbors, or a stranger on the street. Their glee and huge smile will tell you how this one act of kindness has made their day an extraordinary one.
7. Treat yourself to cut flowers each week. Don’t use the excuse that it costs too much money. I’ve been known to buy a dozen magnificent roses at my local grocery store for $5.99. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are also good sources. Again, take your time selecting flowers. Let your instincts tell you which ones are meant to come home with you.
8. Slow down and spend a few moments each day to notice their changes. Appreciate their imperfection and the cycle of their lives. Doing so can be a powerful tool in accepting who you are, the stages of your life cycle, and ultimately death.
9. Observe Flowering Plants, Bushes, and Trees outside. Drink in their beauty and give thanks for their glory. Carry the vision of them throughout your day.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN. Tell us about your first experience with flowers that left an imprint on you. If you enjoyed this article, please share with friends on Facebook and Twitter.
Doing so helps my thoughts reach a larger readership. Thanks so much. With gratitude, Fran