Pansy Beds
© Judith Poole


I gave myself a most precious gift recently. I'd been to the dentist, in downtown Boston, and was hurrying on to my next activity. As I approached the Boston Public Garden, I thought, what a treat it would be to take a walk before the rain.

Within moments of that thought, as I drove along Charles St., I saw a free parking space, right beside the gate.

The garden was beautiful, filled with blooming trees, trees with newly emerging leaves, gardens of tulips and pansies, small children on school outings, people walking dogs.

I felt the city melt away. The pores on my skin opened a little wider. My lungs expanded to take in all the marvelous aromas of a glorious Spring.

There were beds of pansies intended by landscapers to be all of a kind: some were blue, some yellow. At first glance, from a distance, what was most apparent was their shared attributes. When I got closer, I noticed the huge variety within the beds. The blue beds ranged from pale blue through deep purple. The yellow ones each had a different face.

I also noticed that within every pansy bed there was one errant one. If the bed was filled with yellow, there was one multi-colored, or white, or blue.

It stood out like a sore thumb. I could imagine the gardener, frustrated that his plan for uniformity had been foiled. I noticed how difficult it was to appreciate the attributes of the individual plants. The 'odd' pansies, surrounded as they were by 'other', stood out first of all as different. Even among the conforming plants, it took similar effort to allow each plant's own nature to surface and be captivating.

I especially loved the odd guys for daring to show up. I imagined them intentionally snubbing the plans of the landscape designers, taunting the gardeners while turning their faces to the sun. I suppose I identified most with the ones that didn't quite fit in. In my fantasy, I imagined a child seeing them, and finding the courage to be him or herself.

I left the garden filled with gratitude. I felt more relaxed than I had for days. I understood better that the earth and spirits of nature are always ready to welcome us. They have so much to teach, if only we can be receptive.

The first step is to still the mind. One of the easiest ways to do so is by breathing deeply with full attention. The body understands this. It responds to being outside among green growing things by expanding effortlessly. From this state, perceptions are altered. The world reveals more of its magic.

The End.

Click here to read "The Hug", "A Tale For Year's Ending", and "I Am A Writer". .