Flower Petals on Concrete

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge had me on the hunt for something abstractly beautiful. On Sunday, when I walked around the side of my apartment building to get to the laundry room, my subject found me. A flowering tree that had just recently burst into bloom was already on the wane. Its flowers were quickly withering. Tiny, pinky-white petals tinged with brown had exploded all over the ground like a confetti bomb. When they’re new, these flawless blooms are a breathtaking reminder of Spring’s transient beauty. When the flowers begin to decay, however, that fresh beauty is transformed into something entirely different. Wilted, fleshy petals cling to every surface. They congregate in sticky, swollen clumps. The contrast between the candy-colored, squishy-textured petals and the hard lines of the concrete steps dotted with crumbling mortar is strangely beautiful.

Star and coronal and bell
   April underfoot renews,
And the hope of man as well
   Flowers among the morning dews.

Excerpt from “Spring Morning” by A. E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad and Other Poems

When I’m walking with my head down, lost in thought, I may not notice a flowering tree above me, but a barrage of petals below won’t fail to catch my attention. I cherish these sudden, aggressive reminders that beauty exists all around me. The simplest of things often inspire the feelings of deepest gratitude. When I took this picture, I was simply happy to be present and alive. Afterwards, as I contemplated this sight and its effect on me, I started thinking about A. E. Housman’s poems. They’re full of simple, pastoral images—Spring flowers, for example—evoking genuine emotions. Sometimes, I long to read simple language that’s used effectively, and that’s exactly what A Shropshire Lad and Other Poems has been delivering. I highly recommend this collection if you want to read accessible poems that can lift your mood in a few minutes’ time. They’ve certainly helped to prolong the good mood I’ve been struggling to maintain for the past few days.

What have you been reading lately? What’s been inspiring you? Has anything of simple beauty caught your attention recently? Share your thoughts in the comments!

We’re also nearing the end of National Poetry Month! If you’re interested, why not read more about celebrating National Poetry Month, check out my other posts on poetry, and check back throughout the month for more in this series?

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