Before the day had barely begun, my son asked if we would be taking a “beauty break” today. The “beauty break” is something he and I have started doing lately — its nothing more than a pleasant break from the daily grind to take in the beauty of nature around us. We take a moment to wander outside just to see what the natural world is up to. Spring is in full swing in our backyard, so there is always something to see — bees in the lavender, new buds and blossoms in the unlikeliest places, intoxicating scent wafting from the orange tree, giant horned caterpillars we’ve never seen before, swallowtails in the bougainvillea.
But today I was unwell. And though I am ashamed to say it, his request to take a beauty break, which normally would have filled me with enthusiasm, merely left me cold, uninspired, indifferent. I was too fogged and ill to care about beauty or anything else, much less make the effort to go and seek it out. But as a parent, sometimes you just have to suck it up and go, whether you feel like it or not. Because your kid is bouncing off the walls, smiling with enthusiasm and eagerness and you know that this will be one of those weird things he remembers when he’s your age — he’ll remember how you used to take “beauty breaks” together. And somewhere inside you know those “beauty breaks” will make him a better, kinder, gentler, more grateful man. So I rousted myself and we took a break. And were rewarded by a completely free gift — the first tea rose.
Not three months ago, this thing was stripped buck naked of all its leaves and cut back within a foot of the soil. As if relieved at being shorn, it immediately began sprouting until it was full and lush with shiny leaves and a riot of walnut sized buds. The bloom is gorgeous and deeply fragrant and reminded me that I had done nothing to deserve such a beautiful gift. I felt grateful. Blessed. Happy. Like all of this had been arranged just for me.
Watching the transformation of the barren thorny stubs of my rose bush into sharp, shiny green leaves and tightly wound buds of what were now unfurling into luscious, silky layers of petals is a message of hope. Lots of things in life may look and feel wasted, soulless, and dead. But there is always hope in the promise of new life, rebirth, and transformation. There is hope in the promise of change, of starting fresh, in a child’s enthusiasm, in the free gift of beauty right in front of us. This is something I forget more often than not. Taking regular “beauty breaks” seems like a good antidote. Bees help , too!