Monday, December 7, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside...

As I stood outside on my front porch today, a snowflake landed on my black glove. The glistening white stood in sharp contrast, so I could see every detail visible to the human eye without a microscope. Looking at it immediately reminded me of how much I loved cutting paper snowflakes in elementary school, and how, when the folds were opened, a lovely surprise revealed itself. Today's snowflake was teeny-tiny, less than a quarter of an inch in diameter, and it was absolutely perfect. Every little point and space was pristine; it was beautiful.

The plants in my yard have been winterized now that December has arrived, and the still uncut flowers are frozen in their fall colors on their branches. A few of my roses still have pale pink flowers. Meanwhile, inside my porch window, cozy in the warmth of the house, one of my jade plants has decided to bloom.

I have had this plant for a very long time, and over many years it has grown to be about two feet tall. It has never bloomed before. In fact, in all my years of plant-loving and nurturing, I have never seen a jade plant in bloom.

I am in a somber mood lately. Nearly everyone I know is experiencing some sort of difficulty, some with their own health; others are worn out by juggling their lives while care-giving to family members in failing health. Almost all of the others in my circle are struggling through the economic downturn our country is mired in, and my own family unit is no exception. Times are tough out there, and people are stressed to the limit.
This is why it is so important to notice what is around is, and to search for the small pleasures of life. Artists have an advantage in seeing, because artists are hard-wired to see the world through their own peculiar lenses, finding beauty and inspiration everywhere they look. Noticing the small, quiet splendors is an especially potent way to nurture the soul. I can't think of a more healing way to spend a moment of our precious lives.

Today, a tiny snowflake and a blooming jade plant buoyed my soul. I have chosen to see them both as sign of hope. What is keeping you afloat?


  1. Snowflakes are angels touching us with gentle kindness and the blooms on your Jade plant are amazing. I had never seen one bloom before and I lost my twenty something Jade when we suffered a power outage a few years back at Christmas time. I still miss that plant luscious green leaves and the Christmas cactus that announced the upcoming Holidays with friends and families. Ken has had quite a scare and we spent time in the hospital for most of the weekend...good, kind healers surrounded him as he struggled with an unfortunate accident and now we will meet with the doctors on Wednesday to receive further information in order to make a wise decision. I love the gentleness in your words and cherish our connection over the Internet...brief kind words are simple gifts. I do need to get back to work on my quilt and design elements for my women's work. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  2. I had seen your snowflake / angel analogy on your blog, and loved it! I would be happy to send you a jade "start" from the magical bloomer.
    Thank you for the constant reminder of simple gifts, and for inspiring others to look for them. Hope Ken gets good news.

  3. I loved reading this:) Makes me smile to think of the small joys in life that help to balance out the struggles. One day at a time...

  4. It's good to keep in mind. Noticing, appreciating little pleasures will carry you through life.