Thursday, August 22, 2013

Morning Glories and Moonflowers

When I began my journey into the world of gardening, I was overwhelmed with all of the possibilities that were open to me. I had a vision of my back yard mirroring those beautiful English gardens I saw on HGTV with all those amazing flowers gracing the landscape in such a seemingly random order,  yet knowing that each and every plant , and every shrub, had been lovingly planted in a particular spot for a particular reason. In my minds eye I walked down the rows of succulent, colorful veggies as I plucked a sun-warmed tomato off the vine or some dark, leafy greens ready to make a summer salad. The reality, of course, was that I didn't have a clue what I was doing and didn't know where to start. All I knew was that I didn't want to inadvertently kill anything. So the first things I planted were Morning Glories and Moonflowers.

The entrance to my half of the house had a trellis on both sides of the doorway. I had seen the Morning Glories and Moonflowers growing in someones yard and thought they were just beautiful. I was told that they were super easy to grow and that if you planted both, you would have flowers to greet the day and flowers to end the day. I thought that this was a perfect metaphor for my new life as a country girl so I went out immediately and bought the seeds. I started them in little cups on the window sill in the kitchen and when they were sturdy enough to go outside, I planted them with all the pomp and circumstance of a royal procession.

They did indeed become a metaphor for my life in so many ways. I would fly out of the door in the early morning to watch them open their beautiful purple petals to the sunlight and rise to meet the day. I felt that all the way down in my soul as if they were encouraging me to start the day with my head held high and filled with anticipation for the endless possibilities that lay before me that day.

In the evening, when the Morning Glories had closed their petals and bid the world good night, the Moonflowers would glow white against the waning light as dusk settled in. It reminded me that even in the dark of night (or the sometimes the darkness in our spirits), there is beauty to be found if we just open up and look for it. When one things ends, another one begins, just like the phases of our lives.

One of the hardest things I've had to deal with as I've gotten older is dealing with endings of all kinds, be it divorce, death, physical separation as when the kids grow up and move on, or even the end of our jobs and our lives as we've know them for so long. One day we wake up and they have closed up like the Morning Glories at dusk, and we are left asking ourselves:  "what do we do now?"

Taking my morning walk one day last week I came upon a fence filled with Morning Glories and took this picture with my phone. I touched the velvety petals and could feel the smile start deep inside me as it made its way to my face. I was sure that coming across those flowers was no accident. It was a reminder that we need to start each new day by throwing our arms open wide, lifting our heads to the sun, and expecting miracles. That, I have found, is how we make room for the new and miraculous to happen. Even at the end of the day, when the sun goes down, there is still the possibility of beauty in our lives.

And so it is.