“It is the last straw that breaks the camel’s back.” Charles Dickens
I stopped at an Amish flower stand to check out the sunflowers I saw last week and an old woman on a bicycle rode up and said hello. I mentioned how big they got and she told me that she didn’t plant them, it was the birds.
When I asked her if any were flowering she told me there was one on the end of the row but something was wrong with it, it wasn’t perfect. I walked over with the curiosity of Schrödinger’s cat and wondered what she meant.
As soon as I saw it I knew that it was absolutely perfect! The leaves protecting the flower were growing at an odd angle but it was very healthy and probably happy to have someone care so much about it.
I took a few photos as the clouds burned off into bright sunshine, the kind of bright that makes color photos of flowers look washed out, so I knew I would end up converting this to black and white. I thanked the woman and told her she made my day.
“Do you think it will be OK?” she asked me before I left. I was a bit surprised at the question but I figured she was used to dealing with two headed calves and vegetables that grow to look like genitals, the Amish hate when that happens. I assured her the flower would be fine.
The Buddha said: “Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up because you will lose the ability to learn new things. Move forward with your life.” I didn’t tell her that because she was close to 80 and I’m sure she has life pretty much figured out by now.
I read a review for a windscreen a while back in Motorcyclist magazine that said it’s always too hot, too windy, too cold or raining. But after 90,000 miles on my bike I found that there are some days that are as close to perfect as I could ask for.
Today was not a perfect day to photograph a half inch sunflower bud. It was too hot, too windy and it was only a matter of time until it rained. But over the course of almost an hour I managed to get a shot I was happy with, though far from perfect.
Ultimately every day is perfect because it’s the only one we have. But saying that and living it are very different things. There is a popular saying that if we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change. I’m going to keep looking.
Sometimes I feel, sometimes I feel, like I been tied to the hitchin’ post. Tied to the hitchin’ post, tied to the hitchin’ post. Good Lord, I feel like I’m dyin’.
Note: He may have been singing a different tune but this is what I heard.
“Life begins well. It begins enclosed, protected, all warm in the bosom of the house.” Gaston Bachelard
“Dreams die hard and we watch them erode, but we cannot be denied the fire inside.” Bob Seger
“Horses are divine mirrors, reflecting back our inner emotional truth.” Allan J. Hamilton, Zen Mind, Zen Horse
“The human mind is so complex and things are so tangled up with each other that, to explain a blade of straw, one would have to take to pieces an entire universe. A definition is a sack of flour compressed into a thimble.” Remy de Gourmont
Shunryu Suzuki once said: “Life is like stepping onto a boat which is about to sail out to sea and sink.” On the other hand, Ernest Hemingway said: “Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.”
Note to self: DO NOT TAKE THE BOAT!
“Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates: At the first gate ask yourself, Is is true? At the second gate ask, Is it necessary? At the third gate ask, Is it kind?” Rumi