Sunday, June 8, 2008

What if you look closer?

We have a really pretty lilac tree, an ornamental size, which is the focal point of a small triangular flower bed you pass on the way to our front door. Most of the year, it is just a cute little tree, maybe ten feet tall, not any wider than three or four feet, nice and green all summer, and providing some interest with its bare branches in the winter.
Every other year, though, she turns from handmaiden

Let's put it this way: Julia says she smells like a French house of ill repute during this brief ten days or so when she goes completely overboard. It's like the nun gone to Vegas, or to Paris to star at the Moulin Rouge, I swear!

Never having been to one of those places (Vegas, yes, but only for a trade show, honest!), I can only say that, if this is what they smell like, I will never be tempted!

The perfume of the lilac is a very strong one, and while it is quite pleasant from a dozen feet away, in the sunlight of late afternoon, as you walk right past it, it is too strong by a power of ten.

All that talk of scent, though, is not really my point. I'm more interested in describing how the clusters of blossoms seem to be one big, beautiful amalgam if you look casually. The groups of blossoms in this photo are only one branch--there are dozens of equally gaudy displays all over the tree.

I was intrigued, though, as to what made up this big display, and I focused the camera down as close to one end of a cluster as I could get it...and I saw this.Every cluster is made up of hundreds and hundreds of perfectly shaped little four-petal blossoms, each with its own tiny stamen announcing, "come on, big boy! I got your French perfume right here!"

While I did not measure them, each blossom is incredibly small.

The only way I was able to appreciate the plant at this level was to slow down, figure out how to get my camera to help me (it can take shots I can then enlarge to see the detail), and make it happen.

It's an allegory illustrating how we can choose to treat our visit here, to this huge ball of dirt and salty water.

Move really fast and get the deal done as quickly as possible? Sure, that's one path. But, slowing down to see the majesty of a blossom only a tiny fraction of an inch offers so much more flavor to one's experience.

My challenge to you is to offer yourself at least one intentional moment to notice something at an entirely different level than you normally would notice. Just once, sometime this week. If you are moved to do so, I'd love to hear about it.


Olivia said...

"Seeing with new eyes"...I will look for opportunities to do this this week, Rick. xxoo, O

thailandchani said...

Someone recently wrote a post about "stopping" and fortunately that is something I did four years ago - and have maintained. It's important to notice the beauty that surrounds us in so many ways.

Julie said...

Man, what a great post. This is JUST what I need to do and I am taking your advice.
By the way, you live in God's country.

Rick Hamrick said...

Thanks to you, ladies, for stopping by and contributing to the conversation!

O--Dish, my friend! What have you noticed, even just one little thing, this week which you may have missed last week (how's that for seeding the survey?!?)?

Chani--it is a joy to hear of all the folks already connecting in ways which are not about profit or popularity. Thank you!

Julie--we all need just what I said, and me as much as anyone. I'm a big believer in preaching the gospel of "here's what I need to hear, so I'm sayin' it!"