Beauty Is In the Eye of the Beholder

Is it a weed or a flower?

When I was a girl, about the age of my youngest grandson, who just turned 10, I came upon a field of beauty. I was on my way home from school and  took a slightly different route. To my surprise, I saw  a big field of yellow flowers. As I came closer, I stopped in my tracks to admire all that beautiful yellow stretching out in front of me. The owner, caught my eye, and I called out to ask if  I could pick five flowers for my Mother. To my happiness, he told me to go ahead and pick all the yellow flowers I wanted. Although I didn’t want to take advantage of his generosity, I gathered up a good bouquet and hurried home.

My Mother kindly placed the dandelions in a beautiful short vase and as happy as I was, my heart sank, when I later overheard an adult use the word, weeds. “Dandelions are weeds.”

So the question is, when is a weed not a weed?

There are two points of view:

Wikipedia describes a weed as a plant that is considered undesirable in a particular place.

Ralph Waldo Emerson described a weed as a plant whose virtue has not yet been discovered.

Consider the lowly dandelion. Imagine my surprise, 35 years later, when first visiting Austria in the spring, and seeing untouched fields of dandelions, in the orchards, especially the wine fields. It appears that the dandelion has a more favourable image in Europe, and in folklore medicine was considered a reliable tonic, amongst many other things.

All of these memories returned this morning, during a beautiful walk in the experimental farm gardens, with my 14 year old granddaughter. We rounded a corner, and in the next instant, was a field of gold. She kindly joined me in my enthusiastic praise for the humble dandelion.

Two hours outdoors in the warmth of the sun did wonders for our spirits. Walking amongst the  flowers and trees and meandering the many pathways through the Arboretum provided the perfect backdrop for our easy flowing conversation about the world we now inhabit. The subject matter included loss, disappointment, hopefulness, laughter, possibilities, and  beauty. When we were ready to leave we were refreshed and enlivened.

“What is it about the garden that makes it such a place of healing? Perhaps we project hope into it each time we set foot into this place. ‘How wonderful this new plant will be, next season, when it comes into its own.’ we think. How truly amazing that anything will survive because it is too cold or too hot, or there is too much or too little rain. And yet survive it does…” Marjorie Harris

Of all the things we can do right now I think getting outside is top of the list. Whether we are sick, healthy, young or old, if we can possibly manage it, I hope we all do it. It is easy when ennui slips up behind us to ignore the things that we love to do. Things that will make us feel better and more alive.

And Now Our Heroines of the Week

We have all been clanging pots, for our front-line heroines and heroes, in our own communities, and you will see below why this is important. They all deserve special mention and I will name just two this week.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, Chief Medical Officer, for the province of British Columbia in BC was honoured this week, for being the authority behind North America’s lowest death rate during this public health crisis. “…she was able to galvanize the public across the province…set into motion rapid mobilization and  containment and became one of the first in the world to develop a test. She was the scientist to lead the effort and had the authority to issue instructions. (she did this with persuasion, not a stick) PS: she is also the first to caution against complacency, at this time of opening up. We still need to hold the line. Excerpt from Bloomberg Press

Dr. Melissa Umphlett, a pathologist at Mt Sinai Hospital in NYC received a special tribute this week  from the Chairman of the Hospital and her colleagues.   I am delighted to claim a familial relationship, with Melissa, since she is my cousin’s fiancee. (well, closer than 52nd cousin once removed :-)) Still, we are proud and grateful for Dr Melissa and Dr. Bonnie, along with the worldwide cohort of  medical, scientific and entire team of front line workers, we have come to count on. Melissa’s almost sister-in-law, sent me a copy of the award. I think it is important to sing the praises of these tireless workers and I am happy and grateful to do so.

Notes

Note: 1) If any of you. dear reader, have a shout out for someone, please send it on to me. When Melissa was asked about the award she said this: “On the days when I can leave work a little earlier, and get to hear all the cheering from the balconies, although it can be emotional, it is completely energizing. It is less about the recognition and just really, really nice to hear everyone cheering and being happy for those moments.”

Note: 2) This photo of the rare Himalayan Blue Poppy was taken in Vancouver on Monday, by my son Rob, at the VanDusen Gardens. I love the blue poppy and thanks to my Step Father I got to grow them for a few years in my garden on Gabriola Island.  This beautiful and unique flower arrived at the perfect time to pay tribute to these two leaders.

Note:3) Is it a weed or a flower? Is it better or worse? What will our new normal eventually look like? What if this or that happens?   No one knows for certain. We won’t be going back to what was, because life moves forward. Change is a certainty. The door behind our old normal is closed and as a series of new ones open, we will adapt.  I am of the mindset that there will always be moments of joy, love, kindness, opportunity and significance. “Let’s cultivate a curious and flexible mind. A mind that adapts itself to changing circumstances.”   From Morita Therapy

Note: 4) I received such lovely comments and emails this week, and I appreciate them so very much. Please know that you can ask for things too. I would love to hear what you think and do and what you wish I would do here. We learn from each other. See you next Wednesday, and in the meantime, take care. Enjoy your days. Warmly, Trudy

PS It is Thursday afternoon and one of our readers sent me this lovely photo of a dandelion, taken two days ago. He couldn’t post it in a comment so I am doing it here. You will need to click on it to see the light. Thank you GM

10 replies
  1. Carol Ingells
    Carol Ingells says:

    Trudy, thank you for the lovely and loving tone of your blog each week. I can just hear your soft, gentle voice and see you moving through the world with awareness, gratitude and joy. I’m grateful to be connected with you once more.

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Thank you for this sweet note Carol, and your generous words.You were instrumental in introducing me to some wise people. A hearty thank you.

      Reply
  2. Patti Morris
    Patti Morris says:

    Trudy … I always feel that your words arrive for me in the most timely way … and I know that many feel the same. So much resonated … but in particular:
    We won’t be going back to what was, because life moves forward. Change is a certainty. The door behind our old normal is closed and as a series of new ones open, we will adapt. I am of the mindset that there will always be moments of joy, love, kindness, opportunity and significance. “Let’s cultivate a curious and flexible mind. A mind that adapts itself to changing circumstances.” From Morita Therapy. I might just add that ‘it’s a great day to be alive.’ Kevin Kaminsky 🙂

    I hope that you don’t mind, but I have to nominate some other heroes and heroines … the remarkable team of volunteers, staff, members, and program leaders at Wellspring Calgary that I am blessed to watch and learn from. They have collectively moved heaven and earth (rapidly!) to ensure that there was no pause in support for people who are impacted by cancer and living with a multitude of challenges, including fear and isolation. Knowing that this would be magnified, they turned our programs and support on a dime to ensure it was available in a new format. Most miraculous to me they did this while preserving the hospitality, warmth, community and welcome that we thought was in part a function of our beautiful home. We know with assurance, it’s the beautiful people, including our members, who I also celebrate. They have opened their hearts and minds to this new way and as always generously share their resilient spirits, as they build community and connection. It is a sight to behold. And of course, you are one of these heroines, Trudy. Thank you for your kind and impactful contribution to our community.

    Thank you as always for your thoughtful and inspiring words and presence. We are truly blessed.

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Thank you Patti for your kind and thoughtful words. And a big hearty YES to “It’s a great day to be alive.” True words that your beloved Kevin said out loud every single day. I am so glad you wrote about the wonderful heroes and heroines at Wellspring Calgary, including members. I second every word you wrote. As for me, it is a privilege and a gift to visit Wellspring every week via my Zoom Webinar and interact with members.I am honoured and so happy to be able to do so.
      With appreciation.

      Reply
    • Trudy
      Trudy says:

      Thanks Teresea. You do a great job of brightening up the daily lives of others. We all get to cheer each other on.

      Reply
  3. gottfried
    gottfried says:

    Yes, Trudy, thank you for another very beautiful and helpful blog. I have been photographing a lot of weeds these days. Amazes me always how many beautiful phases that common Dandelion has, besides the tasty and nutritional salad my mother used to prepare for me as a child.. ah, what a weed 🙂

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Thanks for your note Gottfried and the photo. I posted it at the bottom of my blog as I could not get it in a comment either. (It is evident that your climate is far ahead of ours.)

      Reply
  4. Barbara
    Barbara says:

    Dear Trudy, I always think of dandelions as God’s gift to children. They are the first flowers children lovingly present to their mothers and grandmother’s. I actually bought a crystal vase for mine. I must confess, I do dig them out of my flower garden, but never dug them out of the lawn, as bees need then too. And our Grandfather always made wine from them. Thank you for your lovely post. Congratulations to Melissa. And please stay safe and surrounded with virtual hugs from all who love you

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Thank you dear Barb. What a sweet Mother you are to honour those bouquets of dandelions in a special vase. I appreciate you writing a comment and thanks for reading my weekly blog.Sending love your way.

      Reply

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