Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Miracle of Flowers

Welcome to all that are visiting here. I worked very hard to catch up last week with my A-Fs. I can now breathe more freely and focus on this week's work on the letter "M".

So Many Magical and Mysterious "M" words. As I Mulled over the possibilities, they just seemed to Multiply. Not wanting to make a Mountain from a Molehill, I asked Myself , "what am I doing here...what is My blogging all about"? Simply, it is a Mirror to My soul, that you, Alphabe- Maidens one and all, Might have a glimpse into the Myth, the Mustached Man. Moreover, to accomplish this without high-level Mathematics, Maculomancy, or Mactation.

So, what "M" word would illuminate this Mirror to My soul? Miracles. I believe in them, I see them, I have experienced them, and, given the season, what better way to explore the subject than by looking into the Miracle of Flowers.

Flowers are so representative of all the Miracles of nature. In the flower we can not only see and experience the Miracles of reproduction, budding, blossoming, life giving beauty and, yes, death...we can see ourselves. Each of us is a flower, our lives unfolding much as a flower unfolds.

We are often asked if we could be an animal, what animal would we be. I ask...if you could be a flower, what flower would you be?

I do hope you enjoy the stories and pictures below. I have enjoyed putting them together for you...the Alphabe-Thursday, Modern, Miracle Maidens.

Downwind from Flowers

Several years ago in Seattle, Washington, there lived a 52-year old Tibetan refugee, "Tenzin," as I will call him, who was diagnosed with one of the more curable forms of lymphoma. He was admitted to the hospital and received his first dose of chemotherapy. But during the treatment, this usually gentle man became extremely angry and upset. He pulled the IV out of his arm and refused to cooperate. He shouted at the nurses and became argumentative with everyone who came near him. The doctors and nurses were baffled.

Then Tenzin's wife spoke to the hospital staff. She told them Tenzin had been held as a political prisoner by the Chinese for 17 years. They killed his first wife and repeatedly tortured and brutalized him throughout his imprisonment. She told them that the hospital rules and regulations, coupled with the chemotherapy treatments, gave Tenzin horrible flashbacks of what had suffered at the hands of the Chinese.

"I know you mean to help him," she said, "but he feels tortured by your treatments. They are causing him to feel hatred inside ~ just like he felt toward the Chinese. He would rather die than have to live with the hatred he is now feeling. And, according to our belief, it is very bad to have hatred in your heart at the time of death. He needs to be able to pray and cleanse his heart."

So the doctors discharged Tenzin and asked the hospice team to visit him in his home. I was the hospice nurse assigned to his care. I called a local representative from "Amnesty International" for advice. He told me that the only way to heal the damage from torture is to "talk it through." "This person has lost his trust in humanity and feels hope is impossible," the man said. "If you are to help him, you must find a way to give him hope." But when I encouraged Tenzin to talk about his experiences, he held up his hand and stopped me. He said, "I must learn to love again if I am to heal my soul. Your job is not to ask me questions. Your job is to teach me to love again."

I took a deep breath. I asked him, "So, how can I help you love again?" Tenzin immediately replied, "Sit down, drink my tea and eat my cookies." Tibetan tea is strong black tea laced with yak butter and salt. It isn't easy to drink! But that is what I did. For several weeks, Tenzin, his wife, and I sat together, drinking tea. We also worked with his doctors to find ways to treat his physical pain. But it was his spiritual pain that seemed to be lessening. Each time I arrived, Tenzin was sitting cross-legged on his bed, reciting prayers from his books. As time went on, he and his wife hung more and more colorful "thankas," Tibetan Buddhist banners, on the walls. The room was fast becoming a beautiful, religious shrine.

When the spring came, I asked Tenzin what Tibetans do when they are ill in the spring. He smiled brightly and said, "We sit downwind from flowers." I thought he must be speaking poetically. But Tenzin's words were quite literal. He told me Tibetans sit downwind so they can be dusted with the new blossoms' pollen that floats on the spring breeze. They feel this new pollen is strong medicine. At first, finding enough blossoms seemed a bit daunting. Then, one of my friends suggested that Tenzin visit some of the local flower nurseries. I called the manager of one of the nurseries and explained the situation. The manager's initial response was: "You want to do what?" But when I explained the request, the manager agreed.

So, the next weekend, I picked up Tenzin and his wife with their provisions for the afternoon: black tea, butter, salt, cups, cookies, prayer beads and prayer books. I dropped them off at the nursery and assured them I would return at 5:00.

The following weekend, Tenzin and his wife visited another nursery. The third weekend, they went to yet another nursery.

The fourth week, I began to get calls from the nurseries inviting Tenzin and his wife to come again. One of the managers said, "We've got a new shipment of nicotiana coming in and some wonderful fuchsias and oh, yes! Some great daphne. I know they would love the scent of that daphne! And I almost forgot! We have some new lawn furniture that Tenzin and his wife might enjoy."

Later that day, I got a call from the second nursery saying that they had colorful wind socks that would help Tenzin predict where the wind was blowing. Pretty soon, the nurseries were competing for Tenzin's visits. People began to know and care about the Tibetan couple. The nursery employees started setting out the lawn furniture in the direction of the wind. Others would bring out fresh hot water for their tea. Some of the regular customers would leave their wagons of flowers near the two of them. At the end of the summer, Tenzin returned to his doctor for another CT scan to determine the extent of the spread of the cancer. But the doctor could find no evidence of cancer at all. He was dumbfounded. He told Tenzin that he just couldn't explain it.

Tenzin lifted his finger and said, "I know why the cancer has gone away. It could no longer live in a body that is filled with love. When I began to feel all the compassion from the hospice people, from the nursery employees, and all those people who wanted to know about me, I started to change inside. Now, I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to heal in this way. Doctor, please don't think that your medicine is the only cure. Sometimes compassion can cure cancer, as well."

by Lee Paton

Front cover of the Miracle Flower by Moina Michael.

Moina Belle Michael

The Flanders Fields Red Poppy was first created as a symbol of Remembrance by an American teacher, Miss Moina Belle Michael.Moina described the way that the idea for a memorial emblem of the red poppy came to her in a moment of revelation. Moina's fascinating autobiography, ”The Miracle Flower, The Story of the Flanders Fields Memorial Poppy” was published in 1941. Moina dedicates the book to the late Colonel John McCrae, whose poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ was the inspiration for her idea of the Flanders Fields Memorial Poppy.As a result of Moina Michael's tireless campaigning, her complete dedication to the cause and the inspiration her idea gave to others, the delicate flower of the red field poppy has become an internationally-recognized symbol of Remembrance and welfare for war veterans.

A very interesting story via Youtube...

My flower photographs were taken last weekend at a nearby wildflower sanctuary called Pigeon Pocket.

"If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change" - Siddhartha Buddha


bud petal blossom
flowering miracles veil
the darkness within

-jeff campbell

I would like to thank Ms Jenny Matlock for providing this opportunity to learn about ourselves and each other on Alphabe-Thursday...

Peace and blessings
Shalom aleichem


  1. Once again hubby you have a great post, I love flowers and believe that they DO have healing power! Thanks for the Neil Young song, you know I like it!

  2. Wow, your beautiful photographs really make me want to get my "good" camera working again; I've been doing the lazy thing, using my iPhone for little quickies. But of course very little resolution.

    What I really want to do is get a pretty decent camera that does good macro and zoom but is light and easy to tote around. Is there such a creature?

    I didn't find your note to me until just now / came onto your site because of the picture and message you posted today. I'm interested in the places you mention I've never know about: Pigeon Pocket, etc.

  3. Blessings to you too! What a beautiful post, the story of "downwind flowers" was so touching. I do believe that all of nature is miraculous. Your photographs are just gorgeous, as usual. And I loved the piece about poppies, we have a "red poppy festival" in our little town every year. The poppies should be especially nice this year since we finally got some rain! Kathy

  4. Beautiful story, beautiful photos of beautiful flowers and a beautiful soul...yours!

  5. Jeff, You always teach, entertain and delight us with your words and images. I'm a huge fan of macro photography. I'm a details girl.

    If I was a flower, I would be a tiger lily because they're scruffy and untamed...yet still beautiful in their own way.

  6. I love the story of the Tibetan man. It is a beautiful testamony to Love and care. I believe in miracles also. I too have been the recipient of many small and several big ones.

  7. Beautiful story and your photographs are always amazing. I would enjoy hearing photography tips from you...maybe for the letter P???

  8. If I could be any flower I would be a daisy. I love them, very simple flowers.

    I loved the Tibetan refugee story.

  9. Your flower pictures are so lovely. I loved the background of the poppies and the story of the man healed from the downwind of flowers. Just a beautiful posting. Joni

  10. Oh shoot! Now I've got to go look up Maculomancy and Mactation, cuz I don't have a clue what those mean Professor!
    The wildflower photos from Pigeon Pocket are lovely! I would be a shasta daisy or a zinnia. (same family) You probably guessed that from my blog name.
    There are so many things we still have to learn about the body and the mind and it's power to heal itself. Amazing story!
    In Flanders fields the Poppies blow between the crosses row on row that mark our place.... If ye break faith with us who die we shall not sleep though poppies grow in Flanders fields. I know the whole thing by heart. My son memorized it 6th grade for a poetry assignment. John McCrae was from Guelph, Ontario, where my parents lived for a number of years, so we have been to the McCrae House.

  11. I really like the story about your Tibetan. I am not surprised at all but still so amazing right?
    Thank you so much for sharing with us.
    Happy Thursday!
    Have you a great week!

  12. The story of the Tibetan man is really moving! I am now close to tears!

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  14. Well, first of thing I know for certain is that if I keep reading your posts I will need to meander over to the dictionary much more frequently.

    The only thing my moles will forecast is the need to see a dermatologist.


    There better not be anything written under the S post about sacrificial stuff.

    Now, geez, I forgot what else you wrote about...I got so stuck on those two words.

    Your post is really mesmerizing...complex and deep!

    I loved the story of the Tibetan...and anything to do with Flanders field mesmerizes me.

    I am going to go now before you sense my maledictaphobia malady.


  15. If I were a flower, I'd be a sunflower, because they are my favorite, turning their faces toward the light. I'd like to think that I'm looking on the bright side as much as I can. Wonderful post, rich, deep, and satisfying.

  16. What a beautiful post with great pictures! Thanks for sharing such a marvelous M post. Check out mine if you get a chance!

  17. Lovely photos and a lot of info to take in. Love the story of the Tibetans.

  18. the tea story was so inspiring ... thank you for that ... your photos are gorgeous ...i think i have lens envy ... your haiku ... brilliant ... lastly ... Colonel John McCrae ... he was in Ypres when my Grandfather was ... I often wonder if my Grandfather was treated by the Colonel (Field Surgeon) ... My Grandfather was hit numerous times and survived ... miracles surround us.

  19. Your posts are always thoughtful and outside of the box. Perhaps this is what you mean when you so eloquently (and with fun) write about your blog, "Simply, it is a Mirror to My soul, that you, Alphabe-Maidens one and all, Might have a glimpse into the Myth, the Mustached Man." We appreciate it. I was touched in the story by how the circle of love drew around the man and his wife. This is as it should be. And yes,I have had yak-butter tea; but not the really strong kind.

  20. Oh, I forgot.... If I could be a flower, I would be Jasmine.

  21. Absolutely beautiful post Jeff! The stories and the photographs, quotes and haiku were all perfect illustrations to the miracle of flowers.

    My Mom always recited the poem "In Flanders Fields" to us as children, as WWII played a big part of her and my Dad's life.

  22. Your posts are always interesting and put together in a charming way....even if I do need a dictionary at times. Loved the story. It was very interesting and amazing.

    Flower, huh? Probably honeysuckle.

    You and Mrs. C have a great weekend.

  23. As always, your photos are beautiful. The story was amazing, thank you for sharing it. Love truly does have a great healing power.
    Thank you, for a wonderful M post!

  24. Beautiful post filled with amazing photos! When our son was 14 he was diagnosed with a lymphoma. We are thankful that he is healed and that challenging time is behind us! God is good! And I was amazed to find that one of chemical drugs that he had to take was actually processed from the flowering plant-Vinca rosea.

    As always, you write beautiful Haikus.

    Blessings & Aloha!

  25. What an outstanding post~ The Miracle Flower, the photos~ especially the one of the little striped bug/beetle:-)

    I love the concept of each of us as a flower, our lives unfolding as a flower does. What a lovely thought! If I were a flower, I'd be a Hydrangea, specifically PeeGee~ "needing several hours of sunlight a day to do well"!