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HAYDEN HOLLINGSWORTH: The Iris

Hayden Hollingsworth

I’ve always thought Spring is a mystical time; it’s my favorite season.  After a bleak winter, it is a time of renewal when the slush of February is an easily forgotten memory.  It is a time when one walks into a new day and has a fleeting thought of how pleasant the morning is, then moves on to the chaos that comprises the coming day.

This morning, having just completed writing an essay with the presumptuous title of “The Meaning of Life,” I was about to leave my office when I happened to look out the window.  The last time I really looked the grass was just beginning to green but today I saw something entirely different: a bed of irises had blossomed not two feet from the pane.  They were so close, so immediate, and so stunningly beautiful they took away my breath.

I rolled my chair to the windowsill and looked more closely.  Two were in full flower, and more than a dozen buds were waiting in the wings for the promise of tomorrow.  The blossoms looked like creatures from another planet, a pair of purple visitors staring into my office.  There were three distinct sections of each: a rounded cluster of petals on the top, a white apron fringed in purple beneath and two petals on either side that looked like arms.  The detail of the architecture was arresting.  A human hand could not copy the beauty, the intricacies that they silently displayed.

I sat there transfixed with the feeling that I was witnessing something from a world where I could not go.  A breeze passed and the heads began to nod, the apron flapped, shaking crumbs of pollen, and the little arms began to wave.  The blossoms seemed to be celebrating.

How often have I walked by such a flower without a passing glance?  But this morning, they caught my attention in a way that was unique.  I thought back to my essay and realized how far short it had fallen.  The iris said it so much better:  We are part of a mysterious whole.  Don’t walk by without a sense of mystery, hope and gratitude.

Hayden Hollingsworth

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