Monday, May 10, 2010

Let Aggravation Blow Away in the Wind

I just dispersed a bougainvillea flower convention on my back patio. CB and I joke that the wispy, pink flowers from the plants like to have daily conferences. There are times I just let the delicate blossoms spin around and congregate like a pink pool of water. Other times I diligently sweep them up and toss them in the trash. I have been derelict in my sweeping duties and the word got out that the patio was a safe place to gather. So gather they did. I filled almost a garbage pail of the elusive flowers. Hence, the bougainvillea conference became a full-blown convention.

The bougainvillea plants have magnificent red flowers that really add color to the yard, but when they dry up they turn a pinkish color and fly around, gather, and make a mess of things. This is enough of an annoyance that many folks I know won’t bother with the plants. It’s just too much work. I’m not sure why, but I find them charming. I sweep them up and I can almost hear them laugh at me saying, “We’ll be back. Hee, hee, hee.” And of course they do return – again and again and again.

No matter how much I sweep or rake, a few blossoms always escape. It’s not like the sturdier leaves that fell from my parent’s pecan trees. My brother, Terry and I would rake the leaves in a pile, shove them in a dented metal trash can and take turns climbing into the barrel and smashing them down. It was even more fun to jump in the piles of leaves before we put them in the trash. Oh sure, it made a mess of the pile we created, but it wasn’t that big of a deal to get the dispersed leaves back into a pile again. It was one of the few childhood chores that I did that I actually enjoyed.

But the bougainvillea flowers are not so cooperative. They are hard to capture, eager to escape, and downright joyful to return to the cleaned area as soon as your back is turned.

Rather than feel like I’m at battle with the blossoms, I have come to appreciate the lessons they have taught me. There are things in life that we cannot control. It makes me think of the introduction I wrote for my book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within.

“It is impossible to go through life without encountering difficulties. From a baby’s first cry to the last dying breath, the human experience involves a series of struggles. While encountering challenges is an inherent part of life, it is not so much the problems, but the attitude you take while facing these difficulties that shapes how you view the world.”

Now grant it, sweeping up these blossoms is not a huge crisis. It’s more like an annoyance than anything else. But I’ve decided to turn it into a joke. I look at my recently swept patio and see that the bougainvillea blossoms have returned. Rather than curse, I chuckle. “So you’ve come back,” I say to the flimsy flowers. “Hee hee,” I hear them retort. “Go ahead and make yourself comfortable,” I say. “I understand it’s going to be windy tonight and there’s no telling where you’ll be blowing off to next.”

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