Daisies and stars: I see thee glittering from afar

yellow-daisies-white-butterflyTiny but not to be ignored. Often we are conditioned to think little of small ordinary things, such as the daisies of the field. Yet, more often than not, the small things are what that make up this world of vastness, like each droplet that makes up the seemingly borderless oceans that cover the whole earth. Likewise, whilst some more popularly favored flowers, such as, roses, are reserved as a majestic symbol, field flowers which are hardly mentioned in memorable imagined or factual narratives continue to bloom in their quiet unassuming yet resilient manner. A daisy symbolizes innocence and purity. It can also symbolize new beginnings. Other meanings associated with the daisy are faith, cheer, simplicity, loyal love, beauty, gentleness, youth, modesty, and romance.

I ask, what did some great painters paint? Claude Monet painted water lilies and poppy. He spoke this, “I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.” But he did paint daisies too. What did great poets write about? Surprisingly I found some poetic writings on daisies. Like Wordsworth did, the poets noted how this tiny flower glows and shines like a pretty star. I took the picture while visiting and staying in a remote tropical outback. The tiny flowers cheerfully greeted me with their radiant color every morning without fail. The country suffers draught yearly for a long period which can come to half a year. The daisies without artificial irrigation vanish and hide themselves in seeds perhaps as I cannot figure out how the root survives in the surface powdery dust. When the rain comes they burst forth from the crust and rise with the crescendo of the torrential rain, with yellow blooms that outshine others. They are truly amazing shining knights in the wild.

“Daisies infinite
Uplift in praise their little glowing hands,
O’er every hill that under heaven expands.”
-Ebenezer Elliott, Miscellaneous Poems, Spring, line 13.

“And daisy-stars, whose firmament is green.”
-Thomas Hood, Plea of the Midsummer Fairies, 36.

“I see thee glittering from afar–
And then thou art a pretty star;
Not quite so fair as many are
In heaven above thee!
Yet like a star, with glittering crest,
Self-poised in air thou seem’st to rest;–
May peace come never to his nest,
Who shall reprove thee!”
-William Wordsworth

Shine on, little stars.

Further notes on the meaning of yellow daisies: (Quoted)
The color yellow is symbolic of friendship and joy. Yellow is the color of sunshine and is associated with joy, happiness, wisdom, and energy. People of high intellect favor yellow.

Paintings by famous painters on daisies:
Famous Oil Painting Bouquet of Gladiolas, Lilies and Daisies by Claude Monet
Daisies by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1894)
The daisy chain by Maude Goodman (1936)

The rain came on the night I departed

A precious H2O account.
january-rain-dropsThe rain came on the last day of January. I was getting ready to pack and leave. It was just an ordinary rain and it was not exceptionally heavy or spectacular. The drops were large. And I was looking out of a glass window at a parched dry garden being newly nourished and replenished of its green. On good days the owner came home and plodded through the garden plowing, digging and planting. A guest who came for a month joined her. The two happily gardened and imagined the beauty when the garden would be in its full bloom in a new season. The arrival of rain was a good news to them. The two ladies saved time and efforts as the garden sprinkler system had broken down and water had to be carried manually.

I recalled one unpleasant experience of an arid land in a distant country. I arrived in March and was confronted with draught. The rain did not come for months. I was indeed in shock as I had then come from a land of plentiful rainfall. I was told that the drinking water came from the drain/well. I dared not think of the sources of the drain/well water. I asked my hostess when the rain would come. She said normally it would come in late May, or June, or July. I left finally in July/August. She rang me and told me the morning after I left that the rain had come in the night like a troop of army. I could imagine the dusty brown earth and the dry bare trees hungrily gulping down the heavenly water.

Water shortage remains a major issue in many parts of the world. I just watched an interview of a missionary and she said that a significant percentage of the world’s poor population are in danger of dying of thirst. The water crisis is the #1 global risk based on impact to society (as a measure of devastation), as announced by the World Economic Forum in January 2015. 663 million people – 1 in 10 – lack access to safe water. In low and middle-income countries, 1/3 of all healthcare facilities lack a safe water source. Globally, 1/3 of all schools lack access to safe water and adequate sanitation.

After returning to a station of life where there is plenty of safe water both in terms of rivers and rainfall, I feel I could breath easier as I walk through lush green trees and surround myself with green plants, acknowledging and giving thanks to the Creator for the rich blessings I have enjoyed often without even noticing how precious they are.

Indeed, water is precious to this earth. So are many things which we have taken for granted.

Some facts (Quoted from: 1990-2016 Water.org): The world doesn’t stand a chance without water. It spreads disease. Compromises safety. Makes education elusive and economic opportunity farther out of reach. The lack of access to safe water is deadly, dangerous, and a major obstacle to the people of developing nations becoming economically empowered. It is what is standing between billions of people and their health, safety, and the opportunity to unlock their true potential.

the tree and a house

a story of a Tree and a house.
tree-and-houseThis is a strange picture. At a glance it may look an ordinary snap shot on a fine day, but when I look closer I see a blending of the trees in the foreground and the house at the back. It looks as if the tree has grown onto the wall of the house and some parts have climbed and covered the roof. The trees were actually planted on the upper slope and the house was at a lower ground. When I look this photo I was attracted by the lovely blue sky and did not notice the effect of the trees on the house. It was late September last year. I had newly arrived in this new place and was fascinated with the sky. It is too late to ask why the tree that looked like it plastered itself onto the wall was in such a state? It looked as if it did not belong. Perhaps it would be restored in spring. I never managed to find out as I left and moved on eventually. I do wonder whether the road side trees were planted by someone else. They were not meant to be part of anything except to adorn the roadside and give shade to joggers like me. The house too was not meant to be part of the scene. It just happened to be there and caught at random together with the tree on camera. Strange how life too could turn out this way for two totally unrelated beings. In this case, a tree and a house.

a tale of two gardens

a morning at SetiaThis picture was taken in a tropical garden where there is ample sunshine and rainfall. It is a private park open to the public in a residential estate. The developers have maintained the park well and given the residents and nearby visitors a place where they daily recreate, exercise, and meet for community and social connection. It is quite a refreshing change from the Western scenario. The people are less mobile-phone-bound. A morning means bright sunshine and green trees. There are joggers and even families with small pre-school children. The seniors practice their daily folk dances or other forms of cultural exercises. There are cafes all around the park. There are private schools nearby too. The park is right in the centre of activities and living. I was told by someone that this little park has won an official landscaping prize and the property value rises consistently.  The efforts of consistent up-keeping maintenance by the developers are being recognized and rewarded. A large park nearby has gone to ruins and become a den of thieves and drug addicts because of the negligence of maintenance by the developers after some years. The value of their properties drop drastically. The contrast between the two parks is so obvious. So are the fortunes of the two developers.

Morning

I am reminded this morning of this little verse which describes a prosperous and successful king* in the ancient times:

“And every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered.” 2 Chronicles 31:21

Have a good day!

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*For those who are interested to know a bit about history, here are some notes from Wikipedia on King Hezekiah:
Hezekiah purified and repaired the Temple, purged its idols, and reformed the priesthood.[7] In an effort to abolish what he considered idolatry from his kingdom, he destroyed the high places (or bamot) and “bronze serpent” (or “Nehushtan”), recorded as being made by Moses, which became objects of idolatrous worship. In place of this, he centralized the worship of God at the Jerusalem Temple. Hezekiah also resumed the Passover pilgrimage and the tradition of inviting the scattered tribes of Israel to take part in a Passover festival. He sent messengers to Ephraim and Manasseh inviting them to Jerusalem for the celebration of the Passover. The messengers, however, were not only not listened to, but were even laughed at; only a few men of Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun came to Jerusalem. Nevertheless, the Passover was celebrated with great solemnity and such rejoicing as had not been in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon.[5] Hezekiah is portrayed by the Hebrew Bible as a great and good king. Knowing that Jerusalem would eventually be subject to siege, Hezekiah had been preparing for war for some time by fortifying the walls of Jerusalem, building towers, and constructing a tunnel to bring fresh water to the city from a spring outside its walls.[7] He made at least two major preparations that would help Jerusalem to resist conquest: the construction of the Siloam Tunnel, and construction of the Broad Wall.
It is interesting that King Hezekiah built two great constructions: the famous Jerusalem underground water tunnel and the famous Jerusalem Broad Wall. Points for pondering today. Key words: Wall and Tunnel.

more about the choice to write or not to write

a white flowerI do not choose to write. I just do it. It’s like breathing. Or crying. Or laughing. Or eating. Or loving someone. Not really a matter of choice. I can discipline myself not to do something which is normally done autonomously at a specific time or space. But It cannot be halted beyond a certain appointed limit. If anyone holds one’s breath beyond the limit she or he is conditioned to, she or he will expire. If writing is natural like a breath, it should be easy and relaxing. The body is preprogrammed and pre-conditioned to do a lot of activities which preserve its survival. On the other hand persisting abuse too conditions the body to do harm to itself. For example, subjecting your body to alcoholic or drug or other obsessive addictions. Easy to do but it does not mean good to you. What about writing? Is it good to a writer? The reward seems good, including monetary reward, recognition and esteem from others, a sense of self-achievement, a fulfillment of dreams, cultivating a good habit of using words and languages to communicate, self-therapy as an emotional outlet, counseling those who matter to you, positively speaking through writing to build up yourself and others, and many more (including telling someone how you really love them). For me? I started writing as a child as a venue to continue my story-telling habit (which started around the age of of four). I had lots of stories inside which demanded to burst out or I would explode. The newspaper got hold of them and paid me for writing serialized stories. I received fan mails from readers who did not know my real age (around 13-15 year old). Those who knew wanted to be my friends. A few classmates of the opposite sex volunteered to copy my handwritten stories so they looked presentable before I posted them to the editor. My family members treated me like a special guest in the house and exempted me from housework. I had the extra money to buy books to read and keep. I got to travel to another bigger town to sight-see. I can recall many benefits for a young person as a writer. Was it ever a deliberate choice? How did I know I could write? I do not remember choosing writing as a career. I wanted to be an architect. Later I chose two entirely different consecutive professional careers ad made a success out of them. In my real profession I write too, usually work and industry related factual scientific analytical papers, reports and even manuals . I did not know that I could write until grade four. One day I read an article written by my sister who is six years my senior and in grade 12. She wrote well. I thought to myself I too wanted to write like that. So I did. Thus I started my lifelong habit, hobby and lifestyle as a writer. My peers, teachers, and editors affirmed and liked what I wrote as a young person. Their recognition and positive encouragement gave me the motivation and momentum on this narrow path. I started by writing stories and later poetry. As a young adult I reverted to fiction-stories again. I have been an avid reader all my life. That helps too. Come to think of it, I cannot remember spending any day without reading and writing. That is why I equate writing with breathing. You do not choose. You just do it. Likewise, a flower does not need to be told to bloom. It just blooms.

p/s: I had a few editor friends who willingly published my work without question. Later a new acquaintance read something I wrote and asked to read my whole published portfolio of newspapers clippings. She then took the initiative to show them to the chief editor of a big publishing firm. The editor immediately called me for an interview and this introducer accompanied me to see the editor. The rest is history.