Flower (and Tree, and Grass, and Sky) Power

Springtime. Time to take fashion tips from a redbud tree. Or wisteria vines overspilling with lavender confetti. Or a pecan grove speckling the sky with illimitable chartreuse polka dot buds. Or geraniums proclaiming that garrulous scarlet is always the new smile. Or any energetic kaleidoscopic unfolding of fresh and radiant and more more more.

Minimalism is lunar. Mother Earth speaks in va-va-va-voom, and She’s not just making suggestions. Every living creature from insects to us is attracted to vivid colors and vigorous new unfoldings because we are meant to be colorful and to unfold. New leaves clap and wave to get our attention. Fresh grass announces a party on the lawn, and why not dress up for the occasion of the morning of the next day of your life? Blooms encourage us to bloom already. The writer Anaïs Nin once noted, “There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Pinning a flower to your hat, or better still, five or fifteen of them, is the prosaic equivalent of slipping your toes into the deeper water of yourself and starting to splash around.

That redbud tree encrusted with fuchsia insists that when pink includes a phosphorescent fire, really think it. My wisteria bolts and twines with indulgent abandon, piling on fistfuls of blossoms like a little girl heaps on cheap beads, and both glow with how little it takes to look like much more than a million bucks. Every last unfurling pecan leaf cheerfully screams that bright is right. Those geraniums just keep on smiling brightly.

And rightly so. Vermilion is to flowers as red is to lips, which is to say the biggest pow in the wow arsenal … and wow is not selfish, or indulgent, or showy (and who says there is something wrong with showy anyway? Got a problem with peacocks?). Wow is our birthright. Wow is just life out loud, a way to kiss all of our blessings with a big smack. Ladies of the earthly realm, if you haven’t yet deeply kissed the red in your life, pucker up. If you don’t like lipstick, grab a cherry. ‘Tis the season. The world adorns itself, and so should we. Every voice that ever whispered Less Is More and Waste Not Want Not and Tut Tut and Well Well emanated from somebody behind closed doors, metaphorically or literally. Someone who thinks that a beautiful world is a zero sum game. Who thinks that if one person soaks up sunlight, somebody else must be left in shadow. Only if they stand in one.

Vibrancy is a spirit, not a consumer good. Vibrant can be exuberant or quiet, playfully brash or graciously considered, big bouquets of positive attitude or delicate wings on butterfly kisses. Optimism is always an option, and spring is the world’s annual open invitation to feel good, better, joyful, grateful. The earth repeats profound lessons over and over again, in simple ways. An unexpected crowd of fresh clover lays out the plain fact that strong can still be soft and soft around the edges is good. A brief gift of dew on that clover is even better, shining with the spectacle of the ordinary and speaking with encouragement to look, really really look, right now. Sunlight swimming around in that dew declares that sparkles are God’s gift, a treasure, not a frivolity.

‘Tis April, and Nature requests the pleasure of your own company at a glittering banquet of everything that fills you up with big bright lights and pretty little things, a feast where you can pile whatever makes you happy on your plate, or in your hair, into a vase or all over your outlook. It’s your party, and you can try it on if you want to.