While visiting my dad in New Jersey last weekend, we drove through Manhattan to run an errand. His wife wanted to drop in at her favorite salon to see if they had time to squeeze her in. He double parked and she ran out to make her inquiry.
(Well, “run” may not be the best verb choice. She’s 20 weeks pregnant, carrying my half-brother. It might have been more of a waddle, since her belly is already round and prominently jutting out from the rest of her body.)
I looked around. New York is full of art. Everywhere you look, there are colors and shades and pictures – more than my eyes can hold at once. And always changing, so I don’t dare look away for fear of missing something spectacular.
And I saw something.
There was a market with flowers.
There are always markets with flowers.
But there was a color that caught my eye and dug roots in my imagination.
“Oh, wow,” I involuntarily gasped.
“What is it,” my father asked.
“Look at those flowers. Aren’t they beautiful,” I was only slightly aware how dazzled my voice sounded. I was still caught in a real life daydream where colors dance and build happy lives.
“Go get some,” my father’s resolute command snapped me out of the indulgent romanticism of the moment and forced me into pragmatic mode. I didn’t want to buy them; I didn’t want to be responsible for them. I just wanted to admire them, to love them from afar – to daydream after them.
“Uh, no. I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I answered him. “We’re going to be in the car for the rest of the day. And then I have to drive back home tonight. They won’t survive all that chaos. Better to leave them where they are.”
“It’s worth you having them only for a moment, if they make you so happy.”
He called out to the guys sitting in front of the shop, “Hey, who owns the shop? We want some flowers!” Then to me, “Go out there and pick the ones you want.”
I walked up to the market, a little giddy and feeling like a princess. Oh my god, I thought. They are even more beautiful up close. I didn’t even bother to look at any of the other options available. I pointed to the bouquet that housed the colors, the shades that sent me spiraling out of reality.
The men completed the transaction.
The flowers were carefully wrapped and handed to me.
I went back into the car and zenned-out in a moment of nuzzling up close to these brilliant, just absolutely beautiful blooms. They smelled amazing. Each one offering its freshness to the witness available: before to the exhaust-filled city streets and now, to me.
My dad was right. They were worth having, even only for a moment. But I would have them for many moments. And even though they were in for a hard 24hours of traveling, I would take as much care of them as possible so they could last as long as possible.
For such beauty, the burden of responsibility was lighter than I had originally given it credit for – and it made me wonder: how many times do we deny and reject beautiful things for our lives, because we’re worried about the responsibility or how we many have to adjust, or possibly change for them?
Thank goodness the beauty exists – calling us, tempting us to step forward, to reach higher to improve our lives. Thank goodness its there, making heavy things lighter; providing smiles to counterbalance the tears; overwhelming us with love to overpower the hate.