Heritage

The Chicks and Chocolate party is winding down. The Southern Living presentation is over and orders are being placed. I am considering a second chocolate martini, but know that could be dangerous.

That’s when she appears in the hallway.

“The Moon Fwower’s bwooming!”

She stands on her toes and reaches both hands up to the ceiling, then lets them fall in a big circle around her small body as she gives a little exclamation hop.

This girl.

I believe that all little girls are beautiful.

But this girl.

She shines.

And right now she wants us to come and see her moon flower.

I look questioningly at her father, who had ventured from his exile upstairs to say hello to all these women.

She came down too–summer rain falling in the desert.

“The Moon Fwower’s bwooming, Daddy!”

He closes his eyes briefly and then meets hers with his.

“We’ll go see it in a little bit. Right now, Daddy wants to talk.”

He is holding her with his eyes.

I watch her excitement deflate, but she accepts his words gracefully.

We mingle more.

But I can’t stop thinking about it.

Moon flower.

What in the world?

“They bloom at night,” her mother tells me. “We thought they were all dead, but then this one little plant came up. She’s been waiting for it to bloom.”

I go to find her.

“Chloe? Will you show me your moon flower?”

She runs to the door, her mother and I follow close behind.

And there it is, tucked in green leafy bed: moon flower.

“Her dad used to grow these with his mom when he was little. She gave us the seeds.”

The lonely white face turns up to me. Is it catching moonbeams?

I imagine her daddy as a boy, crouching over this nighttime secret…just as she is now.

And I remember these:

These white irises that now slumber in my back yard. In early spring, they lift sleepy beards and brighten my garden with their light. Once, they grew in the garden of my husband’s grandmother. They were passed on to me by my mother-in-law…grace in a tuber. The matriarch died long before I met her grandson. But a little piece of her is with me when these flowers bloom.

I imagine diaphanous petals preening under her aging hands—hands that must have held my husband as a babe—fingers that touched his cherubic cheeks.
And I feel her ghost.

God breathes down my neck. Whispers that love never passes away.

This moon flower…this is evidence of the truth of this.

Chloe looks up at me with moon face—luminescent.

“It’s beautiful,” I whisper.

She shifts her gaze back to the flower—can barely take her eyes off of it. She feels it: the power of her roots.

And I can’t help asking myself: What am I leaving behind?

It’s more than a flower. It’s the seed of love.

Comments

  1. says

    Hey! Those ARE my moonflowers! LOL! You told me. I have been carrying those seeds around with me for 30 years from a plant 60 years old! Cool!
    Ok…so now I will go back and read the real story here!
    hugs!

  2. says

    Lovely story…yes.
    Did you smell it’s fragrance? It’s sweet and thick. And I hope your friends grab the seed pod at just the right time, and then pass some along to you. If for some reason, they don’t, you know where you can get some!
    They are a rare commodity!

  3. says

    This is beautiful…truly beautiful. I also have a grandmother flower…Easter Lilly…I am not sure of how long ago they were planted, but after all of the ground moving that the dear husband did at our home, they did not die and bloom out each and every year.

  4. says

    I love how special it was for the little girl to share her flower with her Dad. I am a fan of iris too. We do pass on things and plant into peoples lives. I pray mine is reflected as love also.

  5. says

    Oh Laura, achingly beautiful. Yes – what will I leave. I have several violets that are “off-spring” of the one my husband’s aunt gave to me when she had to move and couldn’t take it with her. I think of her often when I look at them – of her gentle smile and sweet spirit. Yes Laura – what will we pass on. It is all wrapped up in love.

  6. says

    Indeed what will we leave behind…perhaps a smile quickly splayed across our face in the grocery line…connecting with eyes that seem so empty…hmmmm, every moment could be one…the simplicity of Love touching others, lifting them up when they may feel invisible or lost. hmmmm…draw me in and fill me Lord…so that love is ready to go forth.

    I think we used to have that plant…then our lives hit a chaotic season with moves…can’t even remember what happened to it. But ahhhh, the mystery of the blooming…the anticipation. Cool

  7. says

    Purely beautiful. I love the world through children’s eyes. Chloe’s delight reminds me of watching one of my students, unaware of my noticing, exploring the contours of a poinsettia leaf with her lips. That I would revel in Earth’s gifts with such inhibition.

  8. says

    “Hold them with your eyes.” 🙂
    I love that. I’m behind on reading my favorite blogs and went back to read this past post. I loved it.
    I sat her in deep thought after looking at the statement by Dr. Ravi “When you are dancing with another, whose music do you hear?”
    My mind went crazy on that statement.

    I loved that post and I appreciate all who are in the medical field, like you, Laura. You are so caring.

    We (at the church office) receive so many calls each day and so many come in needing help. It’s very difficult at times. It wears me out sometimes. It’s weird though, but there have been times when another person has looked deep into my eyes and I know they have seen my compassion toward them. I know what Dr. Ravi is talking about when he said “You don’t have to touch someone to be with them. Hold them with your eyes.” That’s my prayer as I do my job. When someone has no gas to make it to their job, when they have a terminal child and their husband walked out, when they walk in to get a box of food and their little nine year old is super excited about a tiny box of cereal…….

    It’s difficult for me at times, but I want to be compassionate and caring. I pray this is a seed I’ve passed on to my children.

    This post was precious. Little Chloe is adorable.
    “Chicks & Chocolate”……how fun.
    Love you Laura!!!!

  9. says

    Thank you for sharing this incredible beauty! Children can see and feel things so deeply, they truly inspire me and make me tune in to simple beauty that is all around us. My Grandfather passed along many Iris and Poppies to his children and now they also live in my gardens. I look at them and see him, I can relate to your sweet and powerful writing about this. Thank you!

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