Thursday, 22 April 2010

Flowers and Flowers.

What a strange start to my day yesterday. I published my blog all about the poppy and what it means to me, then as every day I pop round the blogs of the many friends whose blogs I so love reading. In the meantime Rudhi makes a comment on my blog about “Flower Power” and I thought I was the only one in this circle old enough to remember that. I then looked at Kim’s blog and there I saw a beautiful flower painting abstract in nature which always appeals to me. Then the crowning crunch Katherine has a blog about painting in the rain a little flower painting. I head off to the bath signing “Flowers in the Rain” and I am still signing it now as I sit and write this.

So we are thinking, flowers in the rain and flower power. For the younger readers, probably the majority are younger than me this was a time of love and peace and giving flowers as symbols of them. I remember walking along Princess Street in Edinburgh probably one of the most beautiful main streets in Scotland. My hair was almost at waist level, I was wearing a kaftan and bells, jeans and bare feet. It is ok I was not the only one my friends were the same. We had huge bunches of daffodils we had bought from the fruit market in the early hours of the morning and we were giving them to people as they passed along. “Peace my friend,” we said, “I hope you have a good day.”

One person made a comment, “If you are going to give out flowers you might make them decent ones.”

There is s lovely story about the young Zen monk. He and the Zen Master were in the temple one day. It was the task of the young monk to take care of the shrine. As they stood talking they saw an old lady approach the shrine and place two small plastic flowers on the shrine with great dignity and reverence. The young monk said, “as soon as she leaves I will remove those.” “Why?” asked the master. “Because they are plastic and terrible,” replied the monk, “we are trying to keep the shrine beautiful.”

“Do you think the Buddha would care if the flowers were plastic or real?” asked the master. “You do not like plastic and so you have made your mind plastic. All the Buddha would be interested about was the mind and the thoughts of the giver.”

The lady had given her token with a mind full of beautiful thoughts and kindness. The monk had thought he was thinking beautiful thoughts but instead he was caught up in his own values and ideas. He was then imposing his ideas on the old lady. Who knows where she got the plastic flowers or the story behind them, only her. Judge others as you wished to be judged.

This blog is linked to my other blog where the artwork is dicussed:-Flowers


  1. I don't wish to be judged, Ralph; but Thanks for this timeless minutes of your telling; and by the way - it's a very nice chance to improve my school-and travel-English too...

  2. Another good read Ralph.

    However, I prefer not to 'judge others' at all. Each of us has walked a different path and surmounted individual obstacles along the way. Each has handled according to the tools one has - physical, mental and geograpical.

    Until you live in another's "skin" and "memory" you cannot know; as they cannot know you.

  3. And now the song "Flowers in her hair..." is zinging about my head. I remember the Flower Power time too, though I was too young to really participate in the hippie movement. I thought it was so cool though; that I do remember! Peace, love, make love not war...memories...

  4. I'd accept any flower given! lol. What a cool, I guess, 60s thing to do. I think it would be great to just be walking down the street and have someone give you a flower with well-wishes. I think my favourite flowers are the little bunches of dandelions my kids have given me over the years. Totally from the heart. Thanks Ralph! I'm off for a day of plein air painting. Cheers to you and hope the day has found you well and that you are healing. And by the way, I can see why the winner picked this piece!

  5. Good story Ralph. And yes, I do remember the flower power. I had those flower stickers everywhere and was constantly drawing them in school while I was supposed to be listening to my teacher. I'm still obsessed with flowers but now the ones I paint are a little more detailed than those 5 round petal versions.

  6. A great story, Ralph. I love the Master's comment that 'you do not like plastic and so you have made your mind plastic' I know a guru in India who sometimes accepts donations for his ashram and school from Westerners. However I have heard of instances where he has refused even very large donations as the giver was giving with ego and not with love or service. What a lovely image of all these men handing out flowers on the streets of Edinburgh. Nobody handed me a flower when I was there but I still love that great city xx