"Little Man , Be sure to stop and smell the roses along the way!"
My Mother, Marge, constantly quoted this to me as I rushed out the door. All the time. It was one of her oft-repeated phrases as I was growing up - one of those that you always ignore from your parent, like Lynn Anderson singing " I never promised you a rose garden" from an old lp. That worthless bit of advice that wasn't neccessary when I was scouring the yard for my Boba Fett action figure and my Tauntaun. A quote that I decidedly ignored 'til this year.
I looked up the quote.
"Don't hurry, don't worry.
You're only here for a short visit.
So be sure to stop and smell the flowers."
This is the actual quote.
(...So, Marge was a paraphraser like me - good to know.)
She was quoting a Golfer named Walter Hagen. A golfer... a golfer who is third behind Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Interesting - a sports quote was a guiding factor for my Mom in the 70's and 80's.
Mom always said that some things we get to do only once, and, as we rush by them, we'll miss a moment that will never be repeated.
Now, this sentiment is reiterated in many people's blog posts about this quote.
So, here we are in the present. My Mom has been gone for 17 years. I live in a 128 year old home - And I am approaching my 45th year of life.
Suddenly, and much more often, I am thinking about this simple quote from my past.
I rush...I am always in haste. I never put things in prospective. I worry. Will I ever "finish" Chestnut House? Will the basement's new supports hold up? Will I get the back of the house torn off? Can I learn my lines, both in life and on stage? Will I ever find a perfect stage prop that makes my Director happy? I pride myself on speed, and this drives Jon insane.
Until now. I am tired.
Last year we planted a Mr. Lincoln heirloom rose bush by the front gate, a gift from our dear Mary Traylor in honour of the passing of our beloved buddy Atticus.
It just sat there. No roses. No big blooms. Three gangly, thorn covered sticks emerging from the ground - until this year. This spring it decided to bloom.
And bloom it did.
New buds appear every day. Huge blooms open to the sun in frenzied ecstasy. Its' fragrance is sweet and lush.
The rose is known to symbolize love, (and peace while clutched in the talons of a snow white dove.) Thank you Stevie Nicks.
As I rushed down the stoop the other morning in my usual panic, Mr. Lincoln stopped me in my path. You could say he took my breath away. I could not believe what I was seeing.
Huge, platter-sized, roses jetted out of the thorny bush by the front gate. I sat down on the step and stared. I noticed a yellow bug crawling on a petal. I leaned in, buried my nose in a rose, and took deep breathes.
I was stopping to smell the roses.
My Mother was right - this moment relaxed and carried me, blissfully, through the rest of the day. Now, it slows me down during the week. Mornings now, I get up, relax on the porch, and drink coffee with the Schnoodle. I stop to look in Jon's eyes. (His eyes are a rich green, brown, by the way, with flecks of blue and a hint of amber.)
I take my time.
On his blog, writer Jasper Taylor states that it's an overused quote, verging on the edge of a cliche, but, boy is it true.
Many continue with their normal lives, frustrated at the continuous repeat of a cycle. Many go to sleep and wake to nothing, ending up very disappointed - both in themselves and their little world.
Later, Mr. Taylor goes on to paraphrase Judas Priest, "You don't have to be old to be wise."
Well, thank you, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Hagen, Stevie, Judas Priest, and my Mom...I am starting to cherish every moment, with my family and friends, in this beat up old Manse.
I now stop to smell the roses - and it only took 45 years.