I found a flower pushing through rubble from house that had been bulldozed, a house in a small Central California town. I had watched this sweet, once empty house sit at the side of a busy street and was always curious to know its story.
To find it torn down was shocking.
I missed the flower the first time, so it was as if the flower insisted upon my return. I just didn’t know what was calling me at first.
It might seem strange to some people, but I am attracted to things that are not visually appealing at first. You know, like manatees that are so ugly they’re actually cute.
This torn down house I visited was like that, except I had been admiring the house from a distance for a long time. I was surprised to find it minimized to piles of rubble, limited evidence of the large-windowed ranch style house that once was.
The mail box still stood, waiting to collect mail that would never arrive.
The entry gate was silenced, too, just a couple posts were left. They stood at attention, though, ready to attract visitors so I obliged and stepped beyond the trees standing guard over the nothingness and entered the dusty-not-even-a-foundation-left house that felt almost like it was never lived in. I imagine in weeks it will vanish completely.
I have been photographing shopping carts, found in unusual places or in unexpected assemblages for more than three years now. At the corner of the house rested an upended shopping cart which was my first draw to the place.
I had to go back the next day because I forgot my portable hard drive at the college which seemed to be the invitation to return.
Cameron was with me for this second visit and I fully expected him to stride around what was once the outside of the house and then “step inside” the now dust interior to feel his way into the presences that once were there.
I slowly came toward the house when the pink flowers finally got my attention.
They took my breath away.
Amidst the rubble, life bursts forth, defiantly.
I respect the flower’s rebellion. I respect the strength. I respect the ability to bloom even in the desert, even in the parched dusty soil. I connect to her blossoming even when everything falls apart and with no one watching, no one caring, no one cheering the flower on on saying “Good job! You did it! You stood up straight even though the bricks and the air vents and the rebar have collapsed all about you,” the flower stood. Strong, unique, unforgettable.
I’ve felt like these few flowers - I was able to count three that were left, standing, somehow, alone.
To honor them, I offer them legacy.
I offer them a respite and a place and a memory.
They sent me an invitation and these words are my reply and my gift back to them as well as to you.
How are you like these flowers?
What can you learn from them?
How will you use it in your life?
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Julie Jordan Scott inspires people to experience artistic rebirth via her programs, playshops, books, performances and simply being herself out in the world. She is a writer, creative life coach, speaker, performance poet, Mommy-extraordinaire and mixed-media artist whose Writing Camps and Writing Playgrounds permanently transform people's creative lives. Watch for the announcement of new programs coming through the end of 2016.
To contact Julie to schedule a Writing or Creative Life Coaching Session, call or text her at 661.444.2735
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