Saturday, April 10, 2010

In the dropping of the blossoms

"Listen to me.
For one moment quit being sad.
Hear blessings

dropping their blossoms
around you. God."
--Rumi, A Year with Rumi (April 10)

One of my small economies this past year has been to re-read books I already own rather than purchase new ones. So yesterday I found myself reading a rather peculiar paperback romance that I don't actually remember having read before -- though clearly I must have -- about a young woman in Regency times who finds that the man she has married is actually some sort of fairy prince. (Bride Enchanted, by Edith Layton)

The prince has an evil sister who seduces his new bride's younger brother, so together the newlyweds go to the fairy kingdom to see if they can rescue the brother. Layton describes the magical scene that greets her heroine in this way.

"Peonies, lilacs, daisies, irises, sunflowers and roses, apple blossoms, chrysanthemums, meadowsweet and speedwell, all in full bloom...But it didn't feel right to her...She was a country girl and she knew that pear and apple blossoms shouldn't be falling, dappling the grass with showers of pink and white with every breeze, and then being replaced with more blossoms, rather than the little hard green knobs that would become fruit... there ought to have been buds as well as wrinkled petals, to show how they grew and changed, and then withered and died.... Her main objection to this glorious land was that it was all perfectly beautiful. Real perfection was rare, elusive, and always transitory. That made it more beautiful. But this display was permanent, and so, to Eve, however beautiful, entirely artificial."

Having read that last night, I viewed this morning's Rumi quote with different eyes. Somehow, in this context, I didn't leap to the obvious conclusion, that the world around me is covered in blessings if I only watch and listen for them. Yes, that is a lovely thought, but it is also true that the blessings that are dropping their blossoms before us are in fact still on the tree, still very much with us, not wrinkling and fading and withering away.

We may be sad to see their obvious beauty falling, failing, dying. But in the loss of that beauty lies the promise of the blessing that grows beneath, in the hard green knobs that will become rich ripe fruit. Somehow Rumi's image conveys to me now the blessings in the transitoriness of life; the gift that lies hidden in each loss, the fruit that can only be born after the initial flowering has passed.

Life can be very difficult: death and disease, change, discomfort and loss come to us all. But so do the blessings that precede and follow, just as day precedes and follows night, just as the blossoms precede and follow the fruit. It's not an easy thought to hold. But perhaps it is the gift of Spring; this promise of rebirth, that even as the blossoms are falling new life is emerging.


Maureen said...

Your interpretation of the Rumi is lovely, and I like it more than "the obvious conclusion" most of us bring to that quote. Certainly there is much in the unseen, the growing beneath, perhaps more than we ever can be aware of. I think, too, that speaks to surfaces not being what they seem.

Louise Gallagher said...

And perhaps the incantation is to drop the sadness and simply be content with whatever the blessing is -- from blossoms to 'green knobs that will become rich ripe fruit.'

Lovely post. Good thoughts.