Thursday, May 10, 2012

Spring Reward

sketch of yellow azalea flowers
Schminke pan watercolors on Fabriano CP paper
©2012 Stacy L. Rowan

When we hired someone to plant landscaping across the front of our house, one of my requests was for flowering bushes, especially ones with yellow flowers. Yellow flowers are my favorite, perhaps because they remind me of the sun and are a spot of brightness even on a cloudy day.

Our landscaper included four azalea bushes in his plan. Along the edge of the front porch are three that get bright, pink flowers and in the corner by the garage is one that gets yellow flowers.

I remember him telling us that the plant in the corner would "reward us with magnificent yellow blooms in the spring." He made no claims about the pink bushes.

To this day, fourteen springs later, when we see the buds form on the yellow azalea, we talk about how we are soon going to be "rewarded".

Sure the talk is mostly in jest, one of those family jokes that gets carried on year-to-year like a tradition, but in truth, I always look forward to seeing the yellow azalea bloom. For the pink azaleas there is no sense of anticipation. More often I am surprised when I notice they are covered in flowers, because I didn't notice the buds at all.

For the few days that the yellow flowers are at their peak, I take time to stop and appreciate them. And this isn't just because I love yellow flowers. It is also because our family "joke" has programmed me to think of the flowers as a reward. A reward that appears for a short time every spring and then disappears again until the next year.

I have no such programming with the other azaleas. Or with most of the other flowering plants that are in our yard.

The difference in my reaction is the mindset that the landscaper provided back on the day he shared his plans. This bush was special. It would reward me every year. Easy as that.

It kind of makes me wonder about how easy it would be to have a life full of rewards.

Or how simple it would be to change something we anticipate with dread into something less unpleasant.

Food for thought as I enjoy my annual gift of magnificent yellow flowers.

Is there anything in your life that could benefit from a mindset shift?


Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

i love azaleas, but had to get rid of them since they are really toxic to dogs and sky had the habit of chewing the limbs :/

Stacy said...

Jennifer Rose, I didn't realize that azaleas are toxic to dogs. We don't have any pets (other than fish) and luckily I've never seen any of the dogs in the neighborhood coming over to our yard for a toxic snack!