Pick (or Stumble on) a “Bouquet Moment”

[Previous Suburban Farmgirl, October 2009 – October 2010]
Who isn’t cheered by a bright bouquet? I always imagine farm tables set with little jelly-jar vases of wildflowers plucked from the surrounding countryside. Lacking a countryside around my suburban house – or even a proper cutting garden – I’ve been known to crouch in the lawn to clip tiny sheaves of violets, or reach up into the branches to clip a few stems of dogwood or rhododendron, just to get that sweet charge a bunch of blossoms brings.
Then the other day, a friend brought me a bunch of carrots from the market that made me swoon as if they were roses — or even my favorite, peonies. Seriously! These weren’t just any carrots: They were a rainbow of carrots, from deepest ruby red to creamy yellow, with every shade of orange in between. They had in their favor the surprise factor (I’d never seen such carrots!) and the fact that they happened to be variations on my favorite color. Their flourish of leafy greens didn’t hurt, either. Those carrots plumb made me happy.
And those carrots got me thinking… what would happen if I opened my eyes and heart to other unexpected “bouquets” that might be waiting to be stumbled on in a given day?

Turns out, there are plenty of these “bouquet moments” out there. For example, a tiny rainbow danced on my shower wall this morning. Just light, there, doing its thing, waiting to be noticed and then, in my noticing, transformed into something delightful. (Oh how I wished I’d taken a picture. But as you may well imagine, I wasn’t really in camera-ready mode!)
Another bouquet moment today: Happening upon an old snapshot of my Mom and I in Hawaii some 20 years ago. I could have smiled and set it down, but something made me really stop and enter the picture. She looked so happy, wearing a pink lei and a red hibiscus in her hair (she wasn’t normally prone to the whole flowers-in-her-hair look!). And I look so… young! That night we’d had fancy drinks with more flowers in them, and grilled fish and heavenly bread and wonderful service, lots of smiles, all to the soundtrack of ocean swells. Mom died two years ago, but the happy feeling from that Waikiki night two decades ago is still with me today. And by really looking at that photo, I felt it in full!
Later, looking out at a “Jesus sky,” as my sister and I used to call it, brought another burst of delight – you know the sky I mean, where the rays of sun power down visibly from the sky through thick clouds, just like in those old paintings where they radiate out from a beatific figure of Christ in heaven?
The trick to experiencing a bouquet moment is simply to be open to the noticing, and to then appreciate. Those carrots weren’t bestowed upon me as an actual a bouquet, but the pleasure effect was the same: an instant of joy that gave into, lingered over, ran with – and that therefore became its own happy gift.
Try spending today being open to “bouquets of pleasure” yourself and see if it works the same for you. What triggers that gift sensation for you? A vibrant, sliced blood orange against the wood grain of your cutting board? A baby’s smile in the grocery store? A shooting star? An actual nosegay plucked from your yard (or better yet, bestowed upon you by somebody you love)?
Let’s see how many we can find…
BTW, here’s where those carrots ended up (yum! a tasty bouquet!)

  1. Debbie says:

    Bouquet moments come in all shapes, sizes and " phrases" for me. Just the other day I was reminiceing about the early days of my marriage to my hubby of 18 years. The days before kids,(now teens) elder care and the recession.

    We used to hop into my red convertable, top down, music up, wind in our hair…and drive. Once we were on our way he would always glance over at me and say, " Did I mention what a beautiful day it is?"… I just loved it when he would say that! The convertable is long gone… and with it that freeing feeling we used to " feel " more often…but the memory of his smile and the sound of his voice will forever be a bouquet moment for me… Now a days we hold out all winter until summer comes. When we want to have that " feeling " we jump into his boat and head out to the open water. Once we get out to a quiet spot he knows just what to say to make me smile.
    The kids are big enough to hang out on shore now! Yahoo!!!

  2. Denise says:

    What a beautiful blog entry. The magic of Gods creation – sunsets, "Jesus skies", so nicely named; rainbows, your blog entries, a nice heart warming email or a "I love you Mum" from my four yr old son, out of the blue and many others are my Bouquet Moments. I have learned to keep my eyes, hears and sense of smell open for these things. True happiness comes from these simple moments of joy that money just can’t buy. Helluyah to enjoying the true joy that is here for us if we are open enough to see them.
    Thanks for an absolutely beautiful post.
    I look forward to reading each entry you post and enjoy all of them. You have a gift thanks so much for sharing this with us. Hope you enjoy many more bouquet moments.

  3. Emily says:

    I feel sorry for folks who live in a black and white or grey world, even beige would be better, at least it’s something. But I the more colours I add to my home the more I love it! I’m not talking gaudy, off the wall colours, I am talking soft and gentle colours that sooth the eyes and soul. And the patchwork quilt in yellows and pastels that goes on the spare room bed to make company comfy. I wonder if they would want to come back to visit if the quilt was just grey or black…I don’t think I would feel quite as welcome if it was me!

  4. JoEllen says:

    Your post really made me stop and consider my frame of mind lately, Paula. Thank you for reminding me that no matter what is going on in my life, the boquets of joy are all around me — but it is up to me to take notice of them and enjoy their effects. I’ve been too caught up in "stuff" but today I will look for those unexpected gifts and appreciate this great life I have and the earth I live on. Thank you! By the way, you have a great friend to think of you in that way. Wait a minute . . . yesterday an elderly lady(my neighbor) that can barely walk came over and brought me a loaf of bread and cookies she bought at the store. I DO have a lot to be thankful for!

  5. I had a bouquet moment this very moment. I went to pick up 2 of my 4 grandsons this morning and the youngest of the 4 and also the youngest of all 6 grandchildren came walking down the hall from his room with a huge smile across his face. He has been a late walker and has been working on it since before Christmas. Just remember how they look when they first experience it. How shiny their faces get. That was my bouquet moment today and it made tears form in my eyes. Thanks for a new way of thinking.

  6. Peggy says:

    My moment today was also about grandkids. When they run in the door yelling MaMa! and jump into my arms…that is always a "bouquet" moment!

  7. What a lovely entry. Those special moments make so much out of a rough day 🙂

  8. Reba says:

    I have found, like you, that bouquets are flowers and then some. Lately, my bouquets have been the beautiful daffodils that I have picked from my yard. I have been blessed with so many blooms this year that I have had more than one. (I placed some of my compost in the area over my bulbs last year.) The the smell when I walk in my kitchen is heavenly, one of my favorite scents. Also, another "bouquet" that I received is a visit from a friend that I have not heard from in a while. A day at the park on Riverwalk was wonderful, and the visit left it’s lingering aroma long after they got back on the road to go home. Thanks for sharing and giving me the opportunity to share my "bouquets."

  9. Meg says:

    My special bouquet for today was the sound of a spring baseball game taking place just outside my window. The ting of a metal bat takes me back to being a little girl and watching my dad play softball with his company team or my brother as he played little league all summer long. We’re grown up now. I’m away at college and my brother is heading off to Afghanistan, but the sounds of baseball make me feel, just for a moment, we’re all back home.

  10. SuburbanFarmgirl says:

    Meg — I just love that one about the ting of the bat. Wishing you all safe journeys and a wonderful eventual reunion.

  11. Marilynne Adams says:

    Speaking of flowers (and spring), I just hosted my 4th annual "Perennial Party" for about 15 of my friends and neighbors. I am a Rural Farmgirl, but your post was in the gardening vein, so I thought I would tell about my party. Everyone brings plants they have dug and divided from their yard, or leftover seeds, houseplants, etc. to share with others instead of throwing it in the compost pile.
    I serve lunch, fancy and pretty, even tho everyone wears their grubby clothes, this year it was paninis and a salad bar, fresh fruit tart and other desserts, coffee, mango punch and wine. We visit and everyone goes home with a carload of new plants. The more guests, the more choices of plants. It would work as well in the city, suburbia or in the country. Even apartment dwellers could do a houseplant/balcony plant exchange. Try it, it’s fun!

  12. SuburbanFarmgirl says:

    Fun! Like a Christmas cookie exchange for spring!

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