The Postscript by Carrie Classon
“All the Flowers”
I was reluctant to come back from Mexico this spring, knowing it would still be cold and wet and cloudy. But I’d gotten used to looking for pretty things while in Mexico. I wanted to share the festivals and the art and the colors. I’d been taking pictures and sharing them on Facebook so my friends and family could see a little bit of the world that surrounded me.
Then I got back up north, and it seemed like everything had turned to gray.
“This is not a reason to stop taking pictures!” I thought.
And what I meant was that it was no reason to stop looking for beautiful things. My time in Mexico had trained me to be on the lookout for things that were interesting and lovely, and to share those things with others. I said it was for my friends and family, but it was really me who benefited most. I noticed more. I remembered more. I appreciated things more deeply when I took a picture.
So, I decided I would continue.
It was slow going at first. The first spring flowers poked their heads through the mud, and I took a picture. It didn’t look like much on a gray day. But when I later looked at the little purple flowers up close on my computer, I saw details I hadn’t noticed earlier, and I realized that, tiny as they were, they had a powerful beauty.
Then spring came in earnest. Suddenly, there were so many flowers to photograph, I started posting several photos a day. Every day, I walked by beautiful gardens and discovered new things that had emerged overnight.
Then it got very hot, and all the spring flowers withered and finished.
“Well, that was fun while it lasted,” I thought.
But within a few days, the hardier summer flowers started making an appearance, undaunted by the heat. I saw enormous thistle flowers blooming, and the first sunflower burst open. There were hollyhocks and hostas and lilies in profusion. I kept taking pictures.
And here’s the funny thing. I never really noticed flowers before.
My mother and sister are avid gardeners. Both of my grandmothers were. I have always been the black sheep in a family of gardeners—and I still am. I don’t enjoy digging in the dirt. I don’t have a green thumb. It always feels like work to me, and reading a book always sounds like more fun.
But it turns out that I love flowers far more than I knew. I love the shapes and the colors and the varieties and the seasons. I love how some will take over for a while, commanding attention, and then they fade and something new comes to the fore.
And I know that none of it happens by accident. I now appreciate gardeners and gardening in a way I never have in my life.
“What’s this called?” I ask when I post a photo. “Isn’t this beautiful? Does anyone know its name?” And someone always does, and I learn something new and appreciate these flowers even more.
I will never be a gardener, and that’s OK. Not everyone is a musician or a writer or an actor, but we all get to enjoy the music and the books and the plays they create.
I am now an avid fan of gardens. And, whenever I get a chance to see the folks responsible, I make sure to let them know.
“I’ve been watching your garden all summer,” I tell them. “I took pictures!”
So far, they all seem very pleased.
Till next time,
– Carrie Classon is a freelance writer and author and lives in New Mexico. Her columns appear each week.