The song of the forget-me-not fairy
So small, so blue, in grassy places
my flowers raise their tiny faces.
By streams my bigger sisters grow,
and smile in gardens, in a row.
I’v never seen a garden plot:
but though I’m small forget-me-not!
Cicely Mary Barker
Although these heavenly blue flowers are small and delicate, they can’t be overlooked. With their vivid blue color they’ll ask our immediate attention. They ask a little moment of our time to delight in their beauty. But do we still have time to stand still and watch? To see the nightly drops of rain that have fallen on their petals?
It’s a choice we have, just like J.R Tolkien put it so precisely; “All that we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
It seems like we never have enough time. At least, that’s how it feels for me. There are always things to be done, endless lists to be finished. And even when I managed to have my list done, I have already another one in my head.
It’s always about tomorrow. If I do another load of laundry right now, it’ll be less tomorrow. I have to weed the garden today because I won’t have time tomorrow. It’s always tomorrow on my mind- planning and preparing the day that’s to come. I overbook and rush myself in hopes that tomorrow will be easier. I always fall into this endless trap of rush. More, more, more, … Wait a second, hold on, just one more thing, … It’s never enough. It doesn’t make tomorrow easier. And it often feels quite exhausting! On top of that I realize I’m losing beautiful moments today by living for tomorrow.
I don’t always attentively notice these forget-me-nots in the garden as I’m on my way to do another task of my list. Unfortunately I have to admit that this quote of Evelyn Underhill is applicable to me too; “We mostly spend our lives conjugating three verbs: to want, to have, and to do. Craving, clutching and fussing… we are kept in perpetual unrest.”
What to do with the time that is given to us? It’s today. Today I can take time. This endless rushing has stolen and kept these beautiful moments I can’t relive. But how hard it is to try to live this way. How easily I’m distracted and fall in the old habits, in this trap of endless rush.
Though this way of attentive living, this focus on the present (not tomorrow!), the daily, the tangible, this intense concentration of the flowers growing in our gardens, the children growing in our homes, … is how life is intended to be lived.
Taking care for each other, plants and flowers, gets us back in touch with the true rhythm of life. One will learn to appreciate slowness. It will make us realize that the true meaning of our existence isn’t the rush or rapidity, but calmness and contemplation.
“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.” May Sarton
For me, gardening is really a way to slow down, to watch closely and take time to observe even the smallest insects on a leaf. But it doesn’t come easily. It’s something that has to grow. Maybe you have something else that slows you down, maybe you like to write, or photograph, or walk or paint.
Let’s choose to believe that there may be countless big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be seen and discovered, like tiny blue forget-me-not flowers. These big moments are the daily, tiny moments of grace, courage, forgiveness and hope that we hold and make our life valuable. And on these moments time doesn’t matter. Let these lovely blue flowers be reminders of how precious our time is, forget-me-not!