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www.zidao.com Apprentice harmonizer, for sheer fun. Journeywoman writer, for work and pleasure. Starting point was Iowa, current stopping point on this journey is Switzerland, with frequent pauses around the world to watch and listen to the crowd, and occasionally make comments.

Tulips 2006 for Gran ellengwallace's Tulips 2006 for Gran photoset

Monday, May 08, 2006

Poised at perfection

This tulip's moment of perfection

I hope and believe that tulips are not philosophical, that in their lives a moment arrives when they are perfect and they do not reflect on this. They have simply reached the point at which they will not continue to improve, for they are perfect in their appearance and their role in the life of those in the garden around them.

We human beings rarely bask in the glow of our moments of perfection. We look over our shoulders and see what it took to reach that point, and in that point we are already sensing decay, the downhill slide into a less perfect state.

That's the gloomy view and it's not particularly honest, for it gives in to the macabre side that we all have, and gives it the wrong weight. What we consider our own perfection might be a day when we think we look our best, and we spend years after that trying to achieve again a certain mix of skin and hair and weight and just-so demeanor. It might be the day when we were gloriously intelligent-sounding and everyone listened, rapt, and for years after we struggle to get the attention of the crowd again.

The human moment of perfection: we can have many

Mostly it's our perception of perfection that is out of kilter. We are perfect when we have a moment of balance, when we fit into our surroundings and those who surround us. We are probably more often perfect that we allow ourselves to believe.

One of the most beautiful women I have ever met was 81 years old and it is to her credit that when I told her this she brushed aside the compliment but without finding it false. She had thick short white hair and startling blue eyes and a fierceness that must come with surviving life in a small village on the edge of a cliff in Donegal, Ireland's wild northwest outpost. "I had beautiful long black hair when I was young," she said proudly. But that is for the young, she added with a smile, and she called over a granddaughter of 7 who had inherited her beauty.


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