I left my job to begin my maternity leave with my first child exactly in the spring eleven years ago. And eleven years ago these tulips were blooming in this very same spot in our neighbor’s yard.
It was during this “respite” from the everyday chaos of work and life to stay home with and nurture my first born that I noticed for the first time how a tulip is.
How it moves.
How it behaves.
Have you ever noticed this?
I pointed it out to my younger child as we left for school the other day. I said to him, “Do you see those two yellow flowers over there? How do they look right now?”
“They’re closed,” he said.
“Right. They are closed. I want you to remember what they look like. Let’s look at them again when we come home after school.” And we went on with our day.
Tulips, I learned during this “slower period” of my life, close their petals at night, yet during the day not only open to reveal their stamens but actually turn their heads toward the sun to follow the light.
By the time we drove home that afternoon from school, there they were - open and turned in a new direction.
I didn’t learn this from a book. No one taught it to me in a class. I had no knowledge handed down from prior generations about the nature of tulips. I learned this by slowing down, noticing, and paying attention.
This was a turning point for me – in my journey, in my level of awareness, in noticing. It’s how I learned to pay attention, to use silence and my senses to attend to what we are often too busy and distracted to see. To make the invisible visible. I imagine this is the case for many people. I wonder how many other seemingly insignificant yet transformative bits of wisdom there are lurking in plain sight waiting to be noticed.
I’m unaware of any greater meaning that was intended when my neighbor planted these flowers in her yard. I wonder if she knows that they have been more than merely tulips to me. That these are not tulips. These are the means by which we connect with wonder and awe, learn to open ourselves and turn in a new direction in order to see with new eyes what has been right in front of us all along.
I wonder if she knows how her small act of planting has grown into so much more.
Copyright 2013 © Christian Caine. All rights reserved.