In Brooklyn walking to teach, I pass the rose bushes that inhabit the small garden spaces, overhang the wrought iron fences, and scatter their petals across the sidewalks. I feel waves of joy and gratitude as I observe the blooms, half open, full blown, and wilted, browning petals and the infinite potential of the buds. Just like remembering my own breathing, I nod in recognition of this continuous cycle of creative energy. Without a judgment of what is beautiful or what is not beautiful, or, acknowledging the human tendency to make such judgments, I feel intensely present.
In my upstate world it is earlier than that. It is the crowning moment of the iris bloom. Only the hardiest of shrub roses are open -- it is a rare one of the flamboyant sisters in Brooklyn that could survive the winters here. Yet the irises have outdone themselves as they must with variations and each as wonderful as the next, they stand folded and unfolding their treasures. Tall, short, single, multiple, every hue, fragrant or not, shade or sun, there they are. In the sun the petals are sometimes like the wavering wings of insects, translucent and veined. In the shade they are sparkling glowing and luminescent. A sudden pouring rain and they are drenched, sodden, leaning, and in some cases broken. In every aspect theirs is a direct expression of energy. Each moment is a marvel. When there were only three open blooms, they were an amazement. Now there are hundreds and they are still an amazement. Slug eaten, wind torn, or delicately perfuming the world, this year's bloom will come and go.
When the blooms are done, their leaves will spread open to the sun, their tubers will sink roots more fully into the soil and in time their seasonal death will come. Each moment fully present, just like those Brooklyn roses, rotting on the sidewalk or cascading over the fence. Thank you for sharing the path with me.