Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Violets, the Heart Cure

They decorate our front yard right now like little jewels scattered in the night by some unseen generous giver. Today a storm was on its way, and I came home just before it was supposed to begin raining. The winds were already strong.

All these sweet little violets were out there to face whatever was on its way, and I just wanted to bring some in with me, in case they all got smashed by the rain and whatever branches would fall.

So with the wind pushing against me, and my still-in-recovery foot and ankle protesting slightly, I bent and squatted as I could and picked as many as I could without starting to actually hurt.

Since my surgery, I've been thinking more than usual about how amazingly intricate and wondrous the natural world is. How our bodies are put together and most of the time function so well. How everything is put together--and most of the time functions so well.

And then there are things like flowers. They aren't like feet or toes or ankles, there to do a job and doing it well. Of course they do, I suppose, provide nectar for bees and some kind of nutrients for the soil. According to what I've read, in the medieval period and earlier they were used to treat heart disease.

But they are also just beautiful! Just wonderfully beautiful!

And cute! Who can look at these little things out in the grass and not smile? So sweet, so gentle, so....well, cute. Like "cute as a button" cute. have read that according to legend, Venus and Cupid had a conversation that went bad and resulted in Venus flying into a rage and beating her rivals for beauty until they turned blue...and turned into violets. Horrible story!

I much prefer the story that has come down, that these flowers blossomed when Mary said to the angel Gabriel, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord," and so they have been called, "Our Lady's Modesty" by those familiar with this story.

They remind me of childhood, and I read that they tend to be associated with childhood and innocence, and in some places and times the graves of children who died were covered in violets. It makes sense. They seem capable of comforting a broken heart and beautifying a great sorrow.

They make me think of the little song we sang when I was little, and that many of my piano students have played, "Lavender blue, dilly dilly...." even though it's about lavender, not violets. They make me wonder if children today learn all those little folk songs we learned, that are so connected to flowers and trees and birds and nature? When children spend the vast majority of their time inside, can they continue to sing such songs?

They make me think "This is my Father's world..."
"He shines in all that's fair....In the rustling grass I hear him pass..." 
And so these little tiny violets serve as a reminder that "though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet."

I realize that many people do not look at violets and feel reassured that the world is ultimately in good hands. But I do. It has to do with the connection between truth, beauty, and goodness,
and I don't believe I can explain it in a quick blog post in which I really just wanted to say,
Look at these! Just look at these beautiful little flowers,
flowers that we did nothing to deserve.
They just spring up, year after year, out in the plain old grass that we didn't plant,
that we don't fertilize and hardly ever water. It's just there as a gift,
and they are part of the gift.

They make me realize that there are gifts all around that I don't see because I don't bother to look a little closer, or because I've just gotten used to them and take them for granted.

I think those earlier people had it right, that violets are good for the heart.

I think they had that right.


Tom said...

I watched an "Horizon" television programme last about the seas in the solar system, and the possibility of life creating a different 'tree' from that on Earth. What struck me once again, and this is borne out by the beautiful pictures you have shown us, is the almost contradictory nature of the fragility of life-forms as well as the determination of life to 'Be'.

Hope the uncomfortable aftermath of the foot-and-ankle surgery will come to an end soon.

Sheila said...

Yes...I am often struck by how thin and fragile the tissue of a flower petal just almost isn't there!....and yet these little guys made it just fine through that wind and rain, and there are more in the yard today than there were yesterday. They have all the strength they need for what they are here for.

Thank you for the kind hope. It is so much better than even two weeks ago!