the generous spirit of a fading bouquet.

This bouquet from a friend was so lovely when she dropped it off ten days ago or so.  I have to admit something that perhaps won’t surprise you.  I actually enjoy flowers even more when they start to turn a tiny bit brown, curl on the edges and drop a few pedals.

I know many of you won’t understand this, that’s OK.  I promise I won’t send you a decaying bouquet.  Although one time, while a student at the University of Wyoming a boyfriend in South Dakota sent me a red rose in the mail.  It was almost black, shriveled and curled when it arrived. I still found it oddly beautiful.

When I no longer have to trim the stems of a bouquet, check the water or pinch the drooping leaves, I feel some odd sense of relief.  The flowers, no longer expected to be perfect, are free to naturally fade and droop. And I get to enjoy the inevitable state of fading beauty, often leaving the pedals wherever they fall.    

lisa lillibridge

All roads lead to home/SELF

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teepee farmhouse lillibridge dakota 1966

The circular pattern of the teepee is meant to represent a mother figure. It means being balanced in the four parts that are found in the four directions of the Medicine Wheel. These four parts for humans are the spiritual, physical, emotional and mental aspects of self. I was really struck by a sculpture that represented to teepee near Lake Francis on the Missouri River when I was home for my 30 year high school reunion. I’ve learned a lot more about American Indian traditions since I left home 25 years ago. I simply wasn’t as interested or able to see the beauty in the symbols until I had some distance. Now, as a partner and mother the symbolism makes so much more sense and I want to know more.

The fire is in the center of the Medicine Wheel. That is where the meaning of the teachings comes from. This fire is about self. When you look at the Medicine Wheel, you start from self. And as you look out, you make your circle. What we do in between is our own journey. This was pretty cool to be reminded of as I saw classmates and other people I hadn’t seen for years.

I chose to layer the teepee image onto the photo from an abandoned farmhouse my Mom and I walked through Monday. When I saw these images together, they really resonated with me as an image of home, change, leaving, returning, family of origin and desire to understand self in this complicated world. It was an interesting weekend in a small town in southern South Dakota indeed.