The night before last I was having a conversation via g-mail with my daughter, Jamie Bagley. I was bemoaning the fact that I had taken my art journal with me to a picnic but did nothing with it, and just then I had it spread open before me but still couldn't think of a thing to do. She said I should draw a punchy red flower, pretend it was her and write a blessing or poem or prayer. I asked her what she meant by punchy. Her answer was "vibrant-full bloom."
Here is part of our conversation:
Me: So you think of yourself as a punchy red flower?
Jamie: I think it's my authentic self. I could be yellow like a buttercup but I'm really drawn to red. I'm just making this up as I go. I was going to turn the tables and tell you to pretend it's you after you go through all the trouble and read the blessing over yourself.
Me: red like maybe a poppy?
Jamie: exactly like a poppy
Me: I will find a picture and copy it. I do better with copying things.
(As we were chatting I began looking for a picture)
Me: I just found a cool pic of a poppy. So do you think of me as a red poppy? And, if so, what is it that makes you think it?
Jamie: I think we're both heading into a season of blooming big and bright in a joyful way and the poppy looks like that to me.
Me: oh, I love that thought. And I think you are right It's kind of exciting!
(So while we were chatting I did some research on red poppies and found some interesting information. I searched in several places, but bits of it seemed to stay with me. )
Our conversation continues:
Me: I read that a red poppy symbolizes sleep, peace and death, but in classical mythology it signifies a resurrection after death.
Jamie: Whoa! That makes me a little giddy. I definitely see that in myself.
Me: me, too, I think. I don't necessarily feel like I've been dead all these years, but I do feel like I've had a sort of resurrection.
Jamie: It can be a death, not the death, though. Death can be a letting go of a need for control or the putting to rest an old idea of who we thought we were or were not, etc. There are many kinds of symbolic deaths. You can just think of it as a coming awake. like we are learning to live with our eyes open, to beauty, to suffering, to our significance, etc.
Me: I just drew two poppies on an art page. I love what you just wrote, Jamie, about the coming awake. Now if i can only think of a blessing or poem to go with them.
(The whole time we were chatting I was drawing or researching)
Me: Did you know poppies thrive in disturbed soil?
Jamie: Wow. It's like a gift that keeps on giving. I hope you are writing a blog post about this.
After our conversation I worked on the picture a little more and then Steve and I watched a movie with relatives. While the movie was on I was able to come up with a poem inspired by our conversation, my research and the picture of the red poppies. After finishing the art page that included the poem, I decided to take another look at wikipedia and found one more little tidbit about the red poppy. In Persian literature it represents LOVE.
The poppy has been used as a symbol of sleep, peace, death, resurrection and love. What an appropriate image for this Lenten season leading up to the celebration of Christ's resurrection on Easter Sunday.