The other day, a friend dropped some surprise gifts and flowers on my porch. It was a lovely gesture during this time of social distancing. I smiled each time I caught sight of the bouquet, learning from the flowers as they settled into my home.
The flowers I received are tulips, which I haven’t had in my house very often. I cut and arranged them, not surprised by the way they gently draped over the rim of the vase. Tulips are heavy flowers and I’ve often seen them droop under their own weight.
They were lovely regardless, with pink-and-yellow petals that capture the beauty of late summer. I set them on a table near a large window, where I could see them often. As expected, the tulips didn’t do anything. They rested in their vase of water, simply existing. However, I felt calm each time I slowed down to look at them. I appreciated them for the beauty I saw in them.
As the day went on…
The tulips began to gradually perk up. The water and sunlight had given them the strength to lift their heads high. It delighted me to see what improvement could come from plenty of water and simple care.
I considered my own self-care, remembering the times I had been too busy to slow down and refill my water glass. Or too busy to get outside for some fresh air and sunshine.
As a result, I stepped outside and appreciated the joy of simply feeling the sun on my skin and the breeze in my hair. I listened to birds in the distance and kids happily playing nearby. The next day it rained, making it cool enough to crack open the terrace door, letting the tulips enjoy a breath of fresh air as well.
When the rain cleared…
The tulips reached for the sunlight after the rain had passed. I could see each bloom turning itself toward the light. The flowers knew what they needed to feel strong and healthy, and they reached out for it.
I considered how many times I’ve known what was best for me but made a different choice anyway. Staying up too late when I was clearly tired. Eating too much when I was clearly full. Pushing too hard when I clearly needed rest.
The tulips reached for the sun with ease, making their own needs their focus. If flowers can be beautiful by simply existing… If they can enjoy the elements that sustain them and reach toward them… Why can’t we follow their lead?
We can learn a lot when we slow down and appreciate nature. Even when that means learning from the flowers in your own home.