Tulip Gazing

Each year I am amazed by the beauty of spring in the Pacific Northwest. Even on the days when the sun hides behind clouds, even on days when the wind and rain practically blow me over, even on those days when I’m stuck inside — I look at nature and I am in awe.

Yet, the beauty of each flower, of the budding trees, of the rainbows that catch us by surprise, is fleeting. I want to hold on to that beauty. Should I take a picture? That might make me feel better for a moment, but the reality is I rarely look at the pictures I’ve taken. ┬áIt seems the only way to hold on to the beauty of spring is to let go of it. I can only really enjoy the tulip if I am with the tulip; if I’m worrying about how to preserve the moment I’m no longer with the tulip.

I was on a retreat once where the director had each of us study a tulip for an hour. Yes, for an hour. We were to take note of everything we saw. I was amazed at the intricate beauty before my eyes. Each part of the tulip enhanced every other part. Just remembering the experience brings back the awe I felt. Just remembering the experience helps to calm and center me in this present moment.

I don’t need to spend an hour with every tulip I see, but every now and then, as the saying goes, I need to “stop and smell the flowers.” I invite you to do the same.

Happy tulip gazing!


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