Originally Cont’d from Flowers still brighten up my new ‘home’ 1-4-10
Flowers brighten up any room, and the right vase can add an extra touch, particualrly, when the arranger puts a lot of Love into the mix.
I liked the vase Susan, the “artist in residence” at Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia, had chosen for the flowers to “lighten” the altar on my return trip to the center city gathering. It was another “crystal” vase, but wider than the one I chose the week before. I don’t know, it seemed to make the flowers “flower” more, if you know what I mean. Each one seemed to extend further out from the rim of the glass vase. And there were no “holes” between the petals and whatever green stuff there was. Oh, they’re leaves. What do you expect from a Greek whose father’s homeland was mostly a dry and arid, rocky volcanic island good for mostly fishing and raising goats for Feta cheese. Not much “greenery” there, I’ll tell you, and what grew, was mostly chewed by the four-legged mountain climbers.
“I didn’t know if I could bring the flowers,” I tell another woman, Lin, who is also an artist. (She was one of three I spoke with, including Susan and a college art student named Jessica, who came to the Buddhist center around the same time I started on this path.)
“And why not?” Lin asked, “who wouldn’t like flowers?” she added as her husband, August, smiled and nodded in agreement. Both recently moved from Florida to Pennsylvania, where Lin was raised. They still have Florida license plates on their vehicle, and it warms my heart when I see the metal registration with its orange and white colors brightening the rear of their van.
Aren’t flowers sentient beings, I ask. Lin and Susan seemed to think so. I tried to explain that I wasn’t certain if a Buddhist would see it as an act of “murder” or something like that. Hey, until you get to know the rules in a foreign land, tread lightly, has always been my motto.
I hurt no one, they advised me, and I figured my karma was not injured in any way. I then picked up the vase, approached the altar and ascended to the mantle, gently placing the glass down, moving it ever so slightly from one spot to another until a “Feng Shui feeling” kicked into place.
I closed my eyes and bowed. Felt like I was that altar boy again, dressed in a black cassock and a white “surplus.” The pure and still mostly innocent altar boy making ready the sacristy for my old parish pastor, Father Kainick, I believe his name was, a German rector of St Ludwig’s Roman Catholic Church, 28th and Masters streets.
I thought how nice it was to provide service and feel closer to a Being higher than my Self . . . nice to feel I’ve come home.