Spring has officially arrived in my little corner of the world, and I’m seeing flowers everywhere these days. Yellow flowers blooming by the side of the road as I drive to work, purple flowers along the trail where I sometimes jog in the morning. One huge pink bloom on the untended rosebush in front of the house my sister just bought.

Nobody planted these flowers or put them where they are (well, somebody put the rosebush there, but I’ll never know who). They just grow wherever they are, whenever it’s time, bringing color and beauty to the world in their proper season. And after they bloom for a while, they wilt away and drop their seeds, disappearing again until their season returns next year and new flowers spring up in their place.

Human beings have always admired the beauty of flowers. We grow them in gardens and use them to decorate our homes. We send them to people we love. We gather huge masses of them to celebrate important moments in our lives, like weddings… and funerals. Flowers particularly became a major part of funeral celebrations in the Western world during Victorian times, but in other parts of the world, such as predominantly Hindu regions, people have used flowers to decorate the bodies of their deceased loved ones for hundreds or thousands of years. Archaeologists have found pre-historic tombs still filled with pollen from flowers that grew far from the gravesite—a sign that someone brought flowers to the deceased to honor them.

The delicate and fragile beauty of flowers reminds us of the delicate and fragile beauty of life. We cherish them because they look and smell lovely, but also because they don’t last forever, and that makes them all the more valuable.

The flowers growing next to my jogging path will bloom for another few weeks before they disappear again. Then, in summer, there will be different flowers, and different colors. In fall, the leaves on the trees will change from green to red and yellow, and eventually, the weather will get cold and the leaves will fall, and the trees will be bare again. In the meantime, there will be birthday parties for friends and family; there will be work and chores, and hopefully time for a vacation. There will be new people to meet, and there will also be people who will say goodbye. That’s how life is… everything is always changing. Sometimes we get to choose the changes that happen, a lot of the time we don’t.

But I already know I can look forward to more flowers next spring.

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