Purple Flowers and Other Strange Things
By Z Zoccolante
A year ago something in my life changed forever.
Today as I was driving, my gps took me through a random suburban neighborhood where purple flowers littered the branches and rained down on the sidewalks from the jacaranda trees above. I noticed the first tree yesterday while walking to a friend’s house. As I rounded the corner, the sky shone bright blue and purple flowers hung in the air and lay scattered through the tuffs of green grass.
It was then I realized a year had passed. 12 months and so much can change. So much changes in a split moment and sometimes people spend years putting the pieces of their lives back together, all from one shatter in time. I think about these moments, the ones that change our lives, the ones after which we will never be the same. I think about a friend and the moment of labor where she told me she almost gave up, when the pain was too intense and she thought she couldn’t do it anymore. I can’t do this, she said. Even though I wasn’t there I can hear her voice echo in my head.
I think about the contracts that are being signed every day, people buying their dream houses or taking their dream vacations. People getting married. People going on first dates. People making art and people sleeping in the street. People lonely in their mansions or in their tiny apartments longing for connection. People addicted to something that makes them loose their minds when they don’t want to lose it but they can’t seem to stop. People losing family members. Women ushering new tiny humans into the big wide world.
Beginning and endings are like a snake trying to eat its tail. It’s always a circle back to the beginning. It always comes back to us.
I think about a friend who told me a year ago they’d just left an unhealthy relationship with their heart torn in two. They’d moved states crying all the way to the next and sat in a business meeting smiling while the client was being a dick, because they needed the shitty job to pay their rent that month. And yet they posted pictures of the surf and sunsets on their Facebook page cause don’t you wish you had people’s lives on Facebook?
As I drive through the community I think about the passing of time. How everything is temporary, fleeting, dissipating into the ether. Unless. Unless we make daily choices to keep things around, to nourish them. You see, there are things that are out of our control but even so we have a choice as to how we will respond to the moment of chaos, the shattering, the destruction we fall into. We always have a choice.
And choice is what I see in the purple flowers on the sidewalk. They remind me that no matter what we look on the outside we all have our own forms of suffering and we must be extra kind to each other because we don’t know at what moment in time the person in front of you at the grocery store taking eons, who can’t seem to locate their wallet in the black hole their purse, might barely be hanging on. It might have been all they do that day to get dressed and leave their house and buy a bunch of bananas, a half a gallon of milk, and some coffee grounds. We don’t know anything about people’s lives and we can be so quick to judge, to be impatient, to gravitate towards the harsh thought instead of the loving one.
People are doing their best, even if in your judgment their best sucks. People are doing their best.
So wherever you may be take notice of the passing of time, in a season fruit or flower or tree. Extend kindness to everyone you meet even if you think they’re being an asshole (everyone has a story). Remember that you always have a choice in how you will respond in your life. And for the things or people you have in your life, appreciate them, love them, nurture and nourish them . . . and include yourself in this.