Ha! Home making tea after my morning walk, I peek at the quote on my teabag: “Earth laughs in flowers. – Ralph Waldo Emerson.” I laugh out loud. I’ve been tripping out on flowers all the way up the hill and back. I’m awed by the miniscule, yellow blossoms, less than a millimeter, on the clover of the meadow; and in clusters nearby, white clover buds, ready to open, and only slightly larger.
Every few steps, I enter another mini ecosystem. On the outcroppings of rocks, the monkey flowers seem to thrive in the drier and thinner soil. Poppies and lilies are popping up among the dried meadow grasses from last summer. As my path leads back into the woods, I see my first wild strawberry flower this season and stop to take a photo. This year, I’m excited especially by the very first of each variety of flower. And then, a whole patch of strawberry flowers that I didn’t notice on my hurried trek uphill. Flowers are such an amazing method, in myriad designs, of carrying life forward, such a testament to the force of life. I smile reflexively in the presence of flowers.
Coming down hill, as soon as I come around the shoulder of the ridge, I’m back in a different world, filled with sirens and horns, earthmoving equipment at some neighbor’s project. Rumbles and roars replace the 20 different bird calls that had filled my ears just moments before. Or is it just my focus and attention? My reticular activation system chose the natural sounds while I hiked and sat, then as soon as I paid attention to mechanical noises, I heard many more. Just like if I’m thinking of buying a certain model of car, suddenly I see them everywhere in traffic. I just wasn’t picking them out of all the other cars before. Switch attention! Almost home, I notice that the rhododendron bushes in my neighbor’s back lawn have buds that stand up like candles in the center of a leaf cluster. Another first of the season reminding me to choose what fills my frame
I’m facing the prospect of moving away from this hillside and this lovely place on the edge of the developed world. I sense that one of the assignments ahead of me is to learn to carry my calm exuberance with me wherever I go. Experiencing awe is an attitude more than an ecosystem. As a member, an ingredient, in any ecosystem, do I not bring who I am, and how I am, and influence the whole?
I admire people who are curious, interested, and ask questions. They are like bright flowers in a social field. They bring out the “aha” and the laughter, bright eyes, and connection among people who have placed themselves in mental cubicles. There are many varieties of actual and metaphorical flowers. May I be one of them, wherever I go.

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