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White lilac blossoms

The tentative newness of early Spring blossoms in Ohio is transforming now into early summer leaves.  The heavenly scent of lilac mingles… with the wild garlic and dog shit… up and down the drive where I find myself walking.  It reminds me that we are much happier in life if we can accept those two things simultaneously and with equal gratitude.  One cannot exist without the other.  Lilac without dog shit?  For example, if I smell the lilac once it is so delicious I want to take a bite of the blossom, but if I smell again very quickly it is not quite so intense, and if I have the blossom in a vase next to me, pretty soon I don’t smell it at all until I leave the room and come back again.  So, one must experience the lack of the scent (or another contrasting one) so that the perfume of the flower can be experienced.  Of course I struggle with this concept as much as anyone else and have had many opportunities in recent times to examine both sides of the coin.

If all the colours are bright, there is no brightness. – Henri Robert

Wild violets

Joni Mitchell sang… “I’ve looked at Life from both sides now, from win and lose and still somehow, it’s life’s illusions I recall, I really don’t know Life at all”.  I guess I don’t agree that I don’t know Life at all, but I would certainly agree the more I learn the less I am certain of!  Still, occasionally I do have a new insight to add to my short list of ‘Things I know for sure’.  Many of those insights have been a result of people who have influenced my life.  Today came another insight, by way of a friend who shared with me an apt quotation to describe this dichotomy in life, that moment when we realize that what makes us happy also has the power to make us sad, and vice versa.

Pink Dogwood blossoms

Of course it is we who ultimately have the choice of how we react to the two sides of everything.  We can succumb to misery in a difficult moment or we can feel the truth of it and know that without it we would not know the beauty of its opposite.

A happiness that one suffers, a pain that one loves – Amalia Rodriguez