Friday I walked through Central Park with two old friends. We began on West 96th Street and went along the stream and little lakes on our way to the Conservatory Garden. Mallards were everywhere, showing us their tails, diving, dunking in the water. Their colors! Robins bathed and ate worms. Iridescent grackles splashed. Cardinals and blue jays bent the budding branches swinging in the breeze. In the gardens tulips, daffodils, bluebells, trees were in blossom. Magnolia petals fell on my friends Tom and Martin as they sat on a bench. It was just what they wanted. After an awful week, the soothing blossoms coming on the wind were very welcome. "The immortality of Flowers must enrich our own," Emily Dickinson wrote, "and we certainly should resent a Redemption that excluded them." The flower binds us all bringing joy when it blooms, sadness when it falls petal after petal; although we can return to joy again when we remember what ends begins, and what we choose to do with that depends.

"In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash'd palings,
Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
with many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle - and from this bush in the dooryard,
With delicate-color'd blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig with its flower I break."

Walt Whitman

"I will be the gladdest thing under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one."

Edna St. Vincent Millay

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