Friday, September 11, 2015

A Peaceful World Imagined in a Cloud

The Camellia flower's petals fall with its calyx, symbolizing perfect unity.
In remembrance of the September 11 attacks, Lois Brandt invited folks to spend 10 minutes today writing about a peaceful world — a meaningful endeavor, indeed.

What I immediately discovered while starting to write this morning was that it's a snap for me to imagine such a world. But the full-on peace I envision is the stuff of fantasies, of idylls. It's not based in the reality of the world's situation or the human condition, and today in particular, I really didn't want to write about an imaginary world.

So I went about my busy day, planning to try the exercise again once I'd shut down the office for the evening.

While coming in from an after-work dog walk, the Camellia next to my porch caught my eye. Several years ago, an arborist chopped the plant to its quick against my wishes. He insisted that it was in the wrong spot and about to die. Well, it soon started growing again, sprouting right on up out of its stump. This Camellia wanted to live and do its thing in its preferred location, bad soil and space issues be hanged. Its height does need to be contained so it doesn't hit a portion of the house, but otherwise, shrub and home peacefully coexist. The Camellia has even started blooming again, a testament to its resilience in the face of near destruction.

This much we know: Humans will forever experience conflict and, thank goodness, we will forever pursue peace. We learn from tragedy and seek to create a better future. It's what we do. On this somber anniversary of one of our darkest days, I can't offer a blueprint for achieving an ultimate state of peace — but I can pay my respects to those we lost on September 11 with a simple word cloud I created in their honor. I started with the word peace and then spent a few minutes brainstorming some key attitudes and actions that support it.

The color scheme I applied is called Quiet Morning; the cloud's shape is Unconstrained.

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