Home march-2019-issue Blossoming is Mandatory, Sparkling is Optional.

Blossoming is Mandatory, Sparkling is Optional.


The Sacramento sky is scattered with fluff. The trees, covered in pink and white blooms reminiscent of the bedspread my mother chose for my childhood bedroom, are on a mission to make me sneeze. As I hold a tissue to my nose and behold the beauty around me, I wonder:

Do flowers ever get tired of blossoming? Does it start feeling like the same old thing year after year until there are no surprises left?

At a workshop I hosted on New Year’s Day, one of my participants reflected on this idea. I had prompted the group with the question, “What did you start or begin again in 2018?” She had been retired for six years and realized she might have become a little . . . comfortable. She shared:

“I couldn’t think of one thing I started last year. Not one! So, this year, I’ve decided to embrace the word blossoming. It’s never too late.”

I come from a long line of women who embody it’s-never-too-late. I have spent my life in amazement, watching them blossom over and over again.

My grandmother, who had been a writer, a poet and a “letters to the editor” contributor her whole life, took up painting in her sixties. Her folk art became locally celebrated for its vision of turn-of-the-century rural life. Grandma spent her early childhood on a Montana sheep ranch across the river from a people she defiantly called “Indians” until her dying day. As a girl, she sat on the banks of the river tracing the outlines of teepees against the vast sky and watching wild horses kick up dust in the distance until, decades later, she transformed these memories into art.

If we allow it, this is what each one of us does with our life. We transform it into art. If we allow it, we continue to blossom year after year after year.

My mother, who used our home as her personal canvas and made art with everything she touched, never wanted credit or accolades. Instead, she became my grandma’s greatest champion. I remember her schlepping grandma’s paintings to the shop to get prints made for art fairs and hauling the whole lot to a swanky gallery in Carmel, California for “the big show.”

By the time I was at the edge of adolescence, it was far easier . . .


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