Friday, July 23, 2010


As I was riding along in the car the other day, I watched a woman actively tending her flower garden at the side of her driveway. Daisies and echinacea and other bright headed flowers bloomed riotously. The woman herself was like a huge flower, bobbing among the others. It was her hat that did it. Her hat was extraordinary; a huge, pale yellow straw hat of obvious quality, its broad brim crinkled into rosepetal-like convolutions. It would not have been as out of place at Ascot as it should have been in that garden. I could hardly see the woman beneath it. I smiled as I relished the unexpected harmony between the gorgeous flowers and this so patently manufactured object.

Was the hat supposed to look like that? Did she fashion those crazy ripples and waves?Or were they the happy accident of carelessness born from her concentration for the task at hand? Maybe the hat had blown off in the wind and become distorted Perhaps she’d raised a hand to wipe sweat from her brow, and caused those creases.

It was hard to grasp what it was about the sight that gave me joy, rather than making me just laugh at the ridiculousness of it, but I think it was that something about the vigour of the moving hat and the guileless way she wore it which conveyed her deep engrossment in her task. I rejoiced to see such a clear expression of a flow experience, that state where we forget ourselves entirely. In that moment, I could see and share her experience of becoming one with her garden.
This beautiful photo by Pavlo Boyko is from Wikimedia Creative Commons. Here is a link to his Flickr photo stream of things Ukrainian .

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