I love my little balcony garden.
Small pots of herbs, narrow rectangles of greens, some flowers.
It gives me something to care for, a reason to putter around with things that are alive in this concrete jungle. It gives me fresh salads.
I like to go outside and sit amongst it all, tuning into the plants as entities, pretending I can communicate with them as easily as with people—I haven’t yet mastered either.
I was pulling off old flower heads from the pansies—the centre that’s left after the petals have withered and fallen away. It’s funny how the eye can be trained to see these things at the exclusion of anything else. I scanned the large, round mass of green and purple, looking for empty dots of brown to pluck away. I found them. I removed them.
Then I stopped. And I looked at the flowers.
So often I go outside to deadhead without noticing the large, velvet-like flowers that remain.
It’s so easy for us to do that, to see only the negative, to forget all the beauty that is present.
Looking at the deep purple petals, they began to pop out at me. Suddenly the planter took a new form, full of life where previously it had been riddled with dying bits to remove.
When I focus on what is good and right and beautiful in this world, then that is what I will see.
My teacher talks about “watering the flowers” as a symbol for noticing and vocalizing appreciation for those around us. It’s so easy to fall into criticism, but if we develop the habit of appreciation for others, and we aren’t too shy to express it, then our perception of others will lift up everyone.
My garden will grow with the care and attention that I give to it. The same is true for my relationships. I can water the flowers that are my friends and family and appreciate them for the beauty expressed through them.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Travis May
Photo: via author