The Red Bud tree at my church blooms for about two weeks each year. For more than twenty years, the sight has stopped me in my tracks. My friend Nancy planted the tree in memory of her infant daughter. Nancy's mother, whom I knew as a strong and adventurous woman, is buried beneath its branches. To sit in awe of its beauty bursting forth would be enough, but the connection to people loved and admired moves me beyond words.
The Sunday after my mother died, I wheeled along the sidewalk lost in memories and grief. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a delicate lavender flower reaching between the rails of an iron fence. I stopped, placed my hand under the flower, and ran my finger along its petals. I sat in silence for a long time, whispered "Thank you" to the flower, and left.
In a novel I read recently, the central characters decide to look for something beautiful each day. I suppose that's a good discipline, but I prefer surprises, beauty that arrests me--the soft touch of a delicate flower; the bursting forth of a Red Bud tree.
"Let the beauty we love be what we do," said Rumi. Or do nothing. Just love the beauty you love.