I was not feeling particularly beautiful this morning. In fact, I was feeling decidedly ugly. I don’t know what sparked it off but it could have been catching a glimpse of my naked self in the full-length mirror by my bed. I usually manage to avoid that at all cost, but for some reason I peaked. That was my mistake. It was not a pretty sight.
All morning I was feeling agitated and restless. My life seemed to be passing me by while I just grew older and uglier. I started thinking about all the failures, all the lost opportunities… It was getting worse and I couldn’t breathe. I knew I had to get out. I needed fresh air, brisk exercise. I needed to feel the blood flowing in my veins again.
So I rushed out the door, heading nowhere in particular but still feeling distressed and self-absorbed with frustration and anxiety about who I was and what I was doing with my life. It was at that moment that I was literally hit by a beautifully formed, sweet-smelling pink rose. It ran straight into my nose. I suppose it was actually me who ran into it, but it was almost as if it had been lurking behind a garden wall, ready to attack as soon as I approached. And then, wham! It saw me coming and took the plunge.
It was just one rose, of course, on a bush full of roses in a garden full of rose bushes on a street full of rose gardens. But all the other roses on this street were neatly and properly confined to their bushes and well within the confines of their garden perimeters. This one was a maverick rose, plopped on the end of a long stem daring itself way out into the middle of the pavement, heading for distant shores.
Having survived the rose attack, I could not help but notice its intricate beauty – the vibrant colour, the delicate aroma, the richness of the texture, the audacity of the thing. I just stood there, soaking it all in with every one of my five senses and all those other senses that just know about things. I smiled. Suddenly all was right with the world and I with it. Vast encyclopedias of thoughts passed through my head in that brief moment of serenity and calm. I went on my way, a different man. There was, after all, immense beauty in the world and what a glorious thing to be in the world and to be part of it – to be part of that beauty, even me!
But that is not the end of my story. Having had my encounter with the rose, I realised my purpose in life at that particular moment was to buy some milk. So off I went to the shop. Not long after, I was on my way home, near by not on the street of the dangerous attacking rose. I was suddenly accosted by what seemed to be a gigantic (but in all probability a very normal-sized) bumble bee.
The bee flew straight at me from ahead of where I was walking and hovered for several moments like a hummingbird just a few millimetres from my nose. My instant reaction was fear and I tried to duck out of the way, but the bee maintained its position right in front of my nose, following my every movement as if attached to my face with an invisible string.
WHAT DOES THIS BEE WANT WITH ME? I trembled to think. Had I strayed into its territory, had I stepped on one of its baby bees, was it about to attack? As I wondered what terrible fate was about to befall me, I noticed how utterly beautiful it was. I don’t often get to see the underside of a bumble bee up so close – the rich yellow, the soft coat, the whirring wings, the bulging eyes.
Perhaps the bee was becoming too self-conscious at that point, or perhaps it had stared me down sufficiently to let me pass. Anyway, it flew away and that was that. I walked on. But then it hit me – the realisation that this bee must have mistook me for a rose!
Perhaps it had smelled the rose pollen on the end of my nose and was wondering how to get hold of it. Perhaps through my mystical union with the rose I had somehow become a rose, in my deepest essence. Perhaps when I became one with the rose, I also became one with the bee, who is already one with the rose?
How glorious to be mistaken for a rose! Even for a fleeting moment, to be a beautifully formed, sweet smelling pink rose instead of a flabby, middle-aged man past his prime. I walked on, still smelling the rose in my nostrils and feeling as good as if I were a rose – and not just any old rose, but that defiant, daring, firework of a rose, reaching out across the boundaries of its own existence to force itself upon another being and transfer some of its innate glory to someone in need of it. I felt more beautiful now. It was a good morning.