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I’ d been thinking about Dawa, about the Dahlia’s and about where the heck I might get a center post for a Bogen tripod.  I have every thing but and I had told Dawa I would get him a tripod so he could play with his camera in some new ways. Only it turns out that center posts for these old workhorses are rather rare.  I was feeling a bit dismayed by learning this – it was an unexpected turn of events as were the flowers.  The Dahlias were not looking right – not nearly as full and densely packed as in years past and the Gladiolas seemed slow and I had been wanting to ask him how to cultivate the heart.

“The bulbs were not good,” he explained as we stood outside his home beside the space where for each year before had been a wonderland of color, shape, texture and dancing light.  “The bulbs were not packed correctly last year.  They became too warm and the moisture rotted the bulbs.  Last year they were very big and this year like a little finger to start.  They do not yet have strong legs.”  I surveyed the garden with sadness and acceptance.  “And in the morning the grass is so cold, the Gladiolas are freezing and its only mid-August.”

“I’ve been looking around for a tripod for your camera,” I blurted out “and they are not easy to find.” There was another pause and I asked him “How does one cultivate the heart?”  He stammered a bit looked away and closed his eyes and said “If you go to others and ask – do you have what I need for my friend Dawa?  If they do then they must decide do I give or do I not give and this is not a kindness to them. If you go about to find this just for me then when you find it pride will arise in you and you will be puffed up – ‘oh see what I did for my friend Dawa what a good guy I am.’  And this will be pride and pride can be [one’s own worst enemy] as often as not, and this will not be a kindness to you or me.  But if you are out shopping and you happen upon a center pole get it and that will be a kindness to us both.”

I didn’t know what to say to that (and I still don’t) so said I was going off to the Cosmos patch to photograph and at that his face lit up: “Cosmos are very resilient and in the wind they dance.” With that Dawa turned and went back towards his house and I wondered off to the Cosmos patch on the other side of the ranch.  Cosmos are happy flowers and you can see them through all kinds of eyes.  Through the eyes of a gardener, through the eyes of a photographer, and through the eyes of a child.  I see the light of happy happy shine on Dawa’s face when ever we speak of flowers and our shared love of beauty and of flowers does indeed cultivate both of our hearts.