I found a dandelion boldly blooming in my front yard this week, about two months before I normally expect to see them. As I said in my last post, I began pondering why my reaction to the early snowdrops was delight while my reaction to the dandelion was "oh, a weed."
Look at the warm colors in the golden flower and the ruddy leaves. These are a cheerful contrast with gray Indiana skies, something to be enjoyed. Yet I find myself framing this plant in that category of weed and unwanted.
I receive a daily email reflection from Inward/Outward, and yesterday's quote from Anthony de Mello seemed quite apropos.
Everywhere in the world people are in search of love, for everyone is convinced that love alone can save the world; love alone can make life meaningful and worth living. But how very few understand what love really is and how it arises in the human heart. It is so frequently equated with good feelings for others, with benevolence or nonviolence or service. But these things in themselves are not love.
Love springs from awareness. It is only inasmuch as you see someone as he or she really is here and now and not as they are in your memory or your desire or in your imagination or projection that you can truly love them; otherwise, it is not the person that you love but the idea that you have formed of this person.
With the dandelion, as long as I see it through the lens of weed, I can't receive it with delight. If I can set that aside, and look at it as it really is here and now -- the burst of color in a winter landscape, an amazingly hardy bloom that held up despite the night's dusting of snow, a flower that is highly unlikely to go to seed since at this moment it is under an inch of snow -- perhaps, then I can truly see it, and delight in it.
And what else am I looking at through a lens (a memory, a desire, an imagination, a projection), without awareness, unable to love?
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"