Maybe flowers are really angels.
Maybe that’s the way that angels look
when they come to visit Earth, their disguise
so to speak, to keep us from being alarmed.
I could imagine them watching, listening,
from their places in the gardens,
from the vases on our dining room tables,
from little nooks in the fields and woods,
all the while sending the perfume of their caring
to Earth’s creatures, gifting us with beauty,
with little moments of joy, with their love.
And if flowers are but flowers, that’s miracle enough.
Yet I suspect that angels would smile and forgive me
for imagining the blossoms as one of their kind.
Without as much as a wind to signal their coming,
The clouds rushed in, swallowing the sky.
Within an hour, the afternoon’s light was gone
And the earth settled in to the early winter night.
But for one glorious moment, we sat watching
The majestic sight, a soundless drama, sweeping
Toward us with relentless might.
It warranted trumpets. Choirs of angels
Would have been no surprise.
You turned on the car’s headlights
As we drove back, filled with awe and silence,
And Christmas lights gleamed in the darkness
From home, after home, after home.
One September day, when the little girl was walking through the woods with the old woman she called “Auntie Mae,” they came upon a sunlit meadow. It was heaped with wildflowers in a pastel rainbow that stretched from one edge of it to the other.
“Oh, Auntie Mae!” the little girl exclaimed. “How did all these flowers get here?”
“They’re beautiful, aren’t they!” said Auntie Mae. “They’re the work of a special group of angels. Their job is to translate the song of the Great Yes into colors for the beings of the worlds to see.
They’re the ones who design the wild gardens for us, and who paint the sunrise and sunset in the skies, and who choose the colors for the autumn woods. They design the plumage of the birds, and the colors of the sea, and everything that’s a delight to our eyes.
To be a member of their corps, they have to sign on for ten thousand years. It takes that long to learn all the nuances of the art, because ours is not the only world, and they take beauty to them all.”
“I think I love them, Auntie Mae,” the little girl said softly. “Maybe when I’m an angel, I will join their corps.”
“Perhaps you shall,” said the old woman, smiling. She picked a small yellow blossom and tucked it in the buttonhole of the little girl’s jacket. “None of our truest wishes, you know, goes unfulfilled. We get to be everything we wish to be, and some things we never even dreamed.”
And she took the little girl’s hand and they walked on.
The nightingale, so legend says, will only return to the woods when you, daughter of May, have blossomed. He cannot bear to sing without you. And who could fault him for that?
You, with your tender little bells, are sweetness itself. Your perfume is the fragrance of angels, your humility their garments. Your ringing accompanies the singing of fairies.
Oh, sweet lilies of the valley, you are the emblem of May and of her gifts of love. You signify the return of happiness and, like the nightingale, when we behold you, our hearts overflow with song.
As if all she had given were not enough, April brought us pieces of sky. She tucked them, complete with their starry centers, right at our feet. And there they lay, smiling up at us with the sweetness of angels.
We were so touched by the gesture that we might have cried. But just then a sparkling of swallows flew past, dropping their silvery notes all around us. And all we could do was laugh in sheer delight.
The green cathedral rises, called by a sound within itself to awaken to the light.
It reaches, filled with fierce joy, its pillars building themselves on the swelling song, arching with its grace.
Something holy and glorious is coming, a child of the sun, a note never before sung, yet known from the beginning and destined since then to be.
And now is its time.
Angels gather and flit among the branches of the trees. Earth creatures come out from their burrows.
The wind is whispering far and wide that a miracle is near. It brings a gift of rain.
And the green cathedral rises, higher and higher.
Sometimes a certain bend of light makes all the difference. Falling just so, it pierces jaded hearts. Eyes that were glazed see again; minds that were closed open to the truth.
The angels never stop painting the world with their hope. Everyone can be saved from isolation. A whispered word can lead toward home. A sliver of song can mend a shattered soul.
The petal of a rose, a feather on the wind, a waft of a sweet, remembered fragrance—anything will do. Hope takes endless forms.
Sometimes, a certain bend of light makes all the difference.
In the vacant lot, angels that look like butterflies are savoring liquid gold. Overhead, white whales cavort in an ocean of sky. The bells from the carillon pour music down all the rooftops. And we, who are blessed by it all, walk on sparkling sidewalks in the light of the afternoon sun, telling stories and laughing.
Our shadows fall in the shop windows where perfect red apples are heaped in display. The scent of warm cinnamon wafts from the bakery’s open doors.
It’s a fine day for a festival. On a platform by the depot two dozen octogenarians are singing rock and roll. They sashay around on artificial hips and knees and the crowd stands, whooping, in ovation.
Shall we buy a balloon? Or ride the Ferris wheel they set up in the parking lot? I want to see the photographs and hand-made quilts. Let’s ask the candle maker where we can find them.
Look, there’s a hawk circling in the sky. Lucky signs are everywhere, I tell you. It’s the kind of day when all you can do is give thanks just for being here, don’t you think?
Scattered along the roadside, as if angels had dropped golden coins, the coltsfoot appeared today. Not many, I suppose, noticed. The blossoms are hardly bigger than a quarter, after all, and grow low to the ground.
But when they caught my eye, I shouted their name right out loud. Coltsfoot! They’re the first wildflowers of spring hereabouts, and sighting them feels as lucky as seeing the first robin. They’re plentiful, edible, and absolutely gorgeous in a spring salad. They have multiple healing and magical properties, too.
And as if that were not wondrous enough, when you take a blossom in your hand and look at it closely, its beauty is so stunning that it can almost make you cry. Look at this intricate design, with the little buds inside that open into blossoms within blossoms, and the delicate little seeds dancing on their pale green stems, and the joyous radiant petals, fanning out like a child’s drawing of the sun.
And here they are, just wantonly scattered along the roadside, little golden coins of joy, free for the taking. How can you see such a thing and not know that all is well, and that we are loved?