I have long thought Hibiscus flowers exotic and lovely. They remind me of Bali, where we often visited when we lived in Indonesia. Outside the little thatched roof lodging at Poppie’s Cottages where we sometimes stayed, large shrubs of the plant were always in bloom. Once I sat outside on the tiny porch where they left our kopi and mango breakfast and painted one of the flowers. I remember searching for a scarlet or vermillion paint that would allow me to capture the intensity of its color. Now I mostly photograph the hibiscus that grow in our garden. They help me remember to celebrate today – because today is all each flower has. Whether I enjoy the bloom as it grows with large glossy leaves, or pluck it to bring inside to grace our kitchen table, it only lasts one day. Putting its stem into water does not prolong the beauty. By the next morning, this flower’s petals folded shut.
“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” ~John Milton
Today, as we celebrate July 4, 2013, I am thinking of ways I show gratitude for the land in which I live and considering the ways in which I experience life in this place. I have lived in another country, gaining a world view expanding experience and a new awareness of the freedoms that are often taken for granted in this country. As I gather my red, white, and blue bouquet from the garden this morning, I am thankful for the everyday blessing of my home, my community, the country I call mine and those who have given themselves through the years in unselfish service.