Love-in-a-Mist: The Flower and the Feelings
Love-in-a-Mist, also known as Nigella damascena, is one of my faithful favorites, a beautiful annual which keeps coming back year after year. Their blooms, whether white, pink, blue or of a purplish hue, feature feathery bracts which make it look soft and, dare I say it, a bit misty. Plus, the seed pods are unusual, the flower dropping its bracts (not petals, mind you, though it's easy to mistake the two) to become something so fantastic and unique, a purply pod with what seems to be a crown of points atop. They flowers can be cut fresh or picked as a pod and dried to a papery ivory. These flowers bloom while the air is still somewhat cool; I like how they complement the burgundy color of the gaura foliage, which will send out its fountain of pink blooms later on in the summer heat. Between the orange of some California poppies, the gaura's burgundy and the cool blues and whites of the Love-in-a-Mist, this little patch always brings a smile to my face.
Except for this morning, when I went out to take these photographs, feeling a bit contemplative. Love-in-a-Mist is how I'm feeling.... that is, I want to be the best person I can be, but sometimes it's hard to show love when I'm frustrated. And I am-- a proposed playtime for Kiddo died a long-drawn out death due to poor communication and last minute planning from the other parent. (How did it take a week to plan this?!) Plus, we are getting estimates to have a patio and walkway installed in the backyard and the guy never showed up to the appointment or called to check in. Pfffft. So, while I'm rolling my eyes at this momentary inanity, I'm also trying to think how I can be my best self for my son instead of feeling grouchy and fed up.
Love-in-a-Mist seems like an apt description for the love I feel for my son and husband. It's sometimes not always easily apparent, love. Sometimes love is less about flowers and looking into someone's eyes or kind words-- sometimes it's choosing to take 2 hours to make a dinner which everyone will like. (Parents of picky eaters, I am one of you, and we are legion....). Sometimes it's being patient while Kiddo finishes some school work even though I really want to get out for our walk--which is what I was doing while originally typing this. Sometimes the love is off in the ether, hovering around us but not quite visible while we muddle through these moments of being irritated or tired or self-focused.
But that love is present, if we just remember to make it so. When Kiddo finally had his shoes on and we headed up to buy groceries, we talked about this question-- how to hold onto the love we have for each other even when we don't feel loving toward that person, or maybe even ourselves. How do we find love in those moments? Neither of us had any perfect answers, but it was an enjoyable conversation which eventually stopped when we got to the grocery store. Up at the fish counter, ordering some cod for tonight's dinner, I felt a tickle on my neck. Reaching up, I felt something crawling on me and flung it to the floor-- it was a small insect. Kiddo and I laughed; once the fish had been wrapped and handed to me, I used my grocery list to carefully escort a darling, shiny green beetle out to the front doors and set him among the flowers.
There.... there was the love, emergent because we had created a space for sharing and kindness. Something changed for me in that moment and I relaxed a bit. There was more to life than the noise in my own head... sometimes, an iridescent present of the bug variety is a blessing if you decide it is. Love-in-a-Mist, no longer occluded by the fog of my other thoughts or feelings... just present in love.