Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hope Springs Eternal



Faith, wisdom, cherished friendship, hope, valor. All of those are qualities traditionally associated with the iris. I love iris and in fact if I had a favorite flower (I don't), it might be the iris. Or maybe the rose ... or ... OK really I do NOT have a favorite flower. I love iris, though, especially the purple ones.

Here's a true story. At my first initiation, part of the ritual involved being given flowers and herbs which, according to that tradition, also bestowed the initiate with the associated qualities. When one of my initiators placed an iris in my hand, she said, "Here is the iris, associated with hope." Just then she noticed that the iris was dead. Everyone laughed.

The next day I spread all my initiation herbs and flowers on newspaper, put them out in the sun to dry. (I planned to make a small herb pillow from the dried plants.) Two days later when I went back into the sun room to check on their progress, I discovered that the iris had bloomed! Faith, wisdom, cherished friendship, hope and valor bloom from a withered stem and shriveled flower bud? Oh yeah!

That iris, coming back from the dead, without water or any loving attention, was one of the best gifts of that initiation, and a significant part of the reason I still use the name Reya (the name I was given at that ritual) even though I don't practice magic anymore. The small miracle of the unexpected bloom explains, too, why I love iris so much.

I believe in hope, valor. I am a person of faith, even when I'm struggling to believe. The next time your faith in all good things takes a dive, find an iris and just drink it in through your eyes. Iris strengthens faith, it does! Cheers!

34 comments:

R.L. Bourges said...

The iris goes well with the Noblesse Oblige award. (Congrats on that.)

John Hayes said...

I love Irises, too-- we have a number of them around the property-- not just the purple ones, but also ones that are deep red & dark blue. They are hopeful flowers in that they thrive so well in this hardpan soil & rangeland landscape!

globaltoll said...

Thanks for the iris story. Unexpected blooms are truly wonderful. Congrats on the award.

ellen abbott said...

I love the way flowers store energy to continue their drive towards reproduction even after they are cut.

We have a huge hibiscus bush that the Other Half has been trying, unsuccessfully, to get a rooting from. His last effort was to cut about two dozen branches and plunge them into a bucket of water. It's been about three weeks now and no roots have appeared but, even though all the leaves have fallen off those stems, they still are producing blooms.

Reya Mellicker said...

I love those dark cherry red iris.

Thanks, R.L. YES ... just put it together - the Iris is the fleur-de-lis, isn't it? There's a theme here and I didn't even know it!

willow said...

Your dead iris blooming in the sun was such a lovely sign, Reya. I love that.

Fidgeting Gidget said...

Great post today! I love irises! I love the pics! Purple is my favorite color. :)

Mrsupole said...

Wonderful picture of the iris, and the story is so beautiful. great reward, and it just goes to show you that when you think something is dead it is note. Many other things are that way when you think it it over it can be revived again. Love is that way and we should always remember it. Happy beautiful Sprng day to you Reya.

God bless.

Meri Arnett-Kremian said...

Blooming from apparent death -- a metaphor for us all.

Lover of Life said...

Maybe that explains why the purple iris is one of my favorite flowers.

Moonroot said...

That's an amazing story! Looking forward to lots of iris blooms this year!

Robbin'sMama said...

Love the picture, the Iris are so pretty.

Tessa said...

An extraordinary story - how very wonderful that the Iris bloomed again for. I'm not surprised, you are an extraordinary woman, Reya.

The award is so well deserved - congratulations!

Amy said...

Oh, Reya! When I opened your post and saw the photo, the first thing I was going to write was how I love, love, love the purple Iris! Then I read your first sentence and apparently I'm not alone.

I dedicated a blog to purple a while back. It's my very favorite color of anything. Growing up in Oklahoma, our back yard was full of Lilac bushes and Iris's and I just fell in love with them all.

Love the pictures, love the post.

Shalom!

Steve said...

You weren't named Reya at birth? Believe it or not, I don't think I ever knew that!

I'm amazed the iris bloomed from a shriveled stem. Plants are amazing. Those little cells just keep on growing and reproducing, not knowing they've been cut off at the root! It's sort of sad, actually, though I like your hopeful imagery better. :)

Ronda Laveen said...

I kept thinking, as I read "your iris story," that it reminded me of something. Then it hit me. Like Jesus arising from the dead after 3 days. What a wonderful story as to how you got your name. It is so unusual, I always wondered its origin. The royal purple iris are majestic. Just like you.

Congrats on your award. Look forward to reading connected posts.

Reya Mellicker said...

I like the way Ellen said it - that flowers "store energy". They really do!

Steve my given name is Rebecca. I was called Becky when I was young. I never liked that name, (sounds like "icky" to my ear) so shifted to Rebecca as soon as I could get people to call me that.

Reya is a nickname for Reyasdottir which is the full name I received. Reyasdottir means daughter of the green ray - sometimes called the green flash - that sometimes occurs at the moment the sun disappears below a sharp horizon. Sometimes I just say that Reya means daughter of the sunset.

Elizabeth said...

Oh, but you do practice magic, my dear.....
yes, the bearded German iris are so strong and bold much better tan those mamby-pamby pale ones from the florist that die in 3.2 miliseconds.
Irises have more than one bloom per stem
perhaps you had a new bloom.......
magic anyway.

Lynne said...

I like them too! I have the heirloom iris that were given to me last fall but now that Bella decided to rearrange them and carry some of the bulbs around I'm not sure they are going to like having been disturbed very much. Most look okay; one actually rotted! :( Lovely pics as always. Just imagine what you could do with a Lensbaby. It would be awesome in your hands!

analogman said...

I will always address you as Reya. Dubby may be a problem. I was poking a little fun of his inability to call you Reya when I started a previous post with B...

Reya Mellicker said...

Elizabeth, there was only one bud on the shrivelled stem. It was one of those small, yet fabulous, everyday miracles.

Analog man - thank you!

Ronda Laveen said...

OMG! Are you kidding me? Your given name was Rebecca? My parents almost named me Rebecca. Right after I was born, just before they signed the birth certificate, my father told my mother that he didn't want that name because everyone would call me Becky which he didn't like. Apparently, it was "icky" to his ears too. Last minute change to Ronda. And the blow aways continue.

Dubby said...

I don't know why leaving a comment here is so difficult. seems my posting name always gets screwed up, will try again.

of course you can call yourself what you want. it is YOUR name. Old school friends keep you in their hearts as the person you were then. We wouldn't think of you as a friend if that person wasn't someone we loved (or at least liked a lot). And we knew you as Becky. It is just difficult to retrain. That's all. To us you're not different. It is just a different time.
This for sure. Becky doesn't have ANY negative meaning for us.

C.M. Jackson said...

reya

purple is the color of royalty...iris' are proud and independent blooms--plant then and they will bloom regardless of their circumstances. Magnificent plants.

Thought you might find the quote in my last post of interest

http://states-of-mine.blogspot.com/2009/04/theme-thursday-water.html

love your photos and thoughts

best
c

Val said...

oh I LOVE irises!!! and those photos are awesome..the colour is mind blowing...and the story amazing - thank you. Sorry i couldnt get the award motif to load for you - you absolutely deserve this one!!
xx

Barry said...

I love that story.

janis said...

Reya!
How beautiful. Truly MY FAVORITE flower! Surprisingly I was not aware that those qualities were associated with the Iris.
Very cool story about your initiation.

California Girl said...

what a neat story about the iris blooming after seeming dead. I love that! I miss having iris and other bulbs because my knees are so shot I just shudder to plant in the Fall when it's finally cool enough to stick in the ground. I really need to get to a warm climate.

hele said...

that first picture is incredibly beautiful and so is the iris coming back to live.

Steve said...

Re. your name: It's coming back to me now. I think we did have that conversation. I just always think of you as Reya so it repeatedly takes me by surprise. :)

Did I ever tell you about the time I saw the Green Flash? I never believed in it until I saw it. Blew my mind!

Also, one of my favorite movies is called "A Flash of Green," named after a John D. MacDonald movie, which was in turn named partly for the natural phenomenon (and partly for the obvious double entendre -- bribery). It was filmed in my old stomping grounds in Southwest Florida. Starred Blair Brown and Ed Harris. Unfortunately, very hard to rent and not on DVD.

Bee said...

One of my favorite flowers, too. I had them in my wedding bouquet, which is somewhat unusual, I think.

(Your story reminds me of my marriage, actually. Sometimes I think that it is almost dead, but then it comes springing back to life -- and even full blooming flower!)

Meandu said...

This was such a beautiful story about the iris coming back to life. I too enjoy this flower. I think it is particularly beautiful.

Dubby said...

There is thunder and lightning going on. It is 4:30 am here. When I was in the jungle, sleeping in the exposed elements, the thunder and lightning were truly psychadelic experiences. That is not code for some drug induced stupor. It can be taken strictly on the face of the comment.

Anyhoo, as my little fingers reach for each concave letter on the keyboard, and my heart is filled with images and turmoil about my behavior with regard to your name, the lightning and thunder are nearly as powerful a symbol as Poe managed to create for me...Let me see can I pull it out. And the silken sad uncertain russling of each purple curtain thrilled me, filled me with fantastic terror never felt before, so that now to still my heart I sit repeating, tis some visitor entreating, entrance to my chamber door...yes, the thunder and lightning are part of my experience with you. In fact I've just now decided that you and I made this storm....take that back. I made this storm. You are an innocent bystander.

Anyway my dear. I know you have many followers and I am a new comer and also a novice about blogs and electronic communication. But the symbolism of purple and budding dead flowers and Hope Springing Eternal and...My God it is a veritable garden of symbolism in each installment of your extraordinary short essays. But please forgive my childish stubborness and accept my peace offering. And now by the way, the little pitter patter of the rain, and occasional crackle of a distant rumble all feels like Emily instead of Edgar and her tenderness is now more prevalent to me than his dramatic passion.

Good night my dear. Sweet dreams

Reya Mellicker said...

Dubby I am so lucky to be your friend/sister or whatever we are to each other.

Thank you and love,