Deadheading Prayer

Do you know about deadheading? Not the Grateful Dead version, but the floral kind. Deadheading is removing old blooms so the new more easily can and will come.  That’s what I’ve been doing this morning. Forcibly pinching off the once sparkling, now old snapdragon blooms so the next growth can come.

And so it is with us. We have to deadhead ourselves.

I take a snapdragon bloom between my fingers and thumb and wring its neck; the pink ones now reddish brown; the yellow yellowed.  All wrinkled, spent.  They paid out their brightness on a previous Friday now weeks ago. The green shines, begs for my hand to pinch just there, above and between two new leaves. “Take that old blossom. I have more color to bring.”

Can I be as wise as Snapdragon? Can I let go a once glorious but now spent blossom of my own life ? One that was so stunning, I said “Amen” as though it were the first and last of its kind. Does Snapdragon grieve the loss of a magnificent bloom? Try to hold on to a deadhead? Does Snapdragon fear nothing more will come?  Or does it know that that particular bloom was one example of the possibility of form that it contains within itself because it is Snapdragon?  Snapdragon will snapdragon, always. The promise is contained within itself.

And so it is with us.

The stalks I have pinched stand much taller.  They spire to the down-reaching sun rays. Their leaves broaden to capture as many photon-filled rays as possible, drawing them in, sending them along leafy lines, metabolizing them into future bloomings and oxygen for others to breathe. The sun and the leaves belong to each other, require each other.  They are forever lovers whose progeny is beauty and breathing.

I step into Snapdragon’s circle. No ends or beginnings here, but rather, perennial composings and decomposings of flower and leaf. Only my human eye time-stamps and stills the artistry, an optical intrusion into the alchemy of aliving, my observing creating a pretense of stasis in this transmuting.

And inside and outside and all around, and above and below and within, in the place that the deadheads rest wrinkled, grows the next blooming, the next amen. So I pinch and I pinch and I pinch.  Engaging from my place and in my place in the circling. I belong to This. I am a forever lover, too. I sigh into this embrace.  Thank you.  Maybe I am a Grateful Deadheader after all.

And so it is. Amen



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