Life is full of uncertainties. It probably starts when we suddenly find ourselves thrust out of the warm, reliable womb into a world that is suddenly bright, cold and strange. That pretty much continues until we head back to a different sort of dark enclosure, as that mysterious life spark exits our bodies.
So it is important to be able to count on some things and some people, even though they will likely shift with the vagaries of our lives. Take the iris in the picture above. It blooms in what seems an unlikely place – a small patch of garden in the middle of a big stretch of brick walkway outside a large arena. Every May this small clump of iris bursts into glorious bloom. Then it fades. The leaves die back. All signs of it disappear – until the following May.
The same is true for this patch of iris in the Kasugai Japanese Garden behind City Hall here in Kelowna, British Kelowna. Each May they catch my eye, as they open like dancing purple fairies across a swampy stretch.
I anticipate the return of these flowers, then on their fading in summer’s heat, the brilliant splash of fall colours that follow, then the snow cover of winter. They mark the seasons of my life. Still, if they were to disappear, other markers would take their places. I would greet them with the same joy.
People are like that too. They come into our lives, become a solidity, a certainty. And then, sometimes, they are gone. Distance or death separates us or the changing circumstances of our lives send us in different directions.
The secret to security is being able to count on ourselves. That gives us the freedom to embrace the return of the iris, the brilliance of fall leaves, the love of a friend, without losing our balance when the garden is paved over, the tree dies, the friend moves on.
The irises lifted my heart today. They gave me hope. When they fade, I will have their memory, and that certainty is a gift.