“The best things in life are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.” –Robert Louis Stevenson
This is delayed, but tonight I collect my thoughts about the royal wedding. I admit, I was more than happy to wake up in the middle of my night to watch two strangers marry. I was excited, not sure of what to expect. I just knew, as I went to bed, that I wanted to wake up and be a part of something historic, to watch with millions around the world.
I was sad, when I flipped on the television, that I had missed most of the ceremony. I thought I had calculated everything right, but I was misinformed. I was hoping to see Kate walk into the church and barely got to see the couple walk out. But I stuck with the newlyweds. I watched them leave the church, ride away, kiss, and begin life, husband and wife. I did this with a joyful heart. The much-anticipated dress was lovely, but so unexpectedly ordinary. It could be on any bride, fit any ceremony. The two walked down the aisle and the future king gave side glances and small smiles as he met familiar eyes. They invited friends and family and the people who sell them candy.
The thing that I loved so much about the wedding, what made waking up more than worthwhile, was the splendid ordinariness of it all. Yes, they are royalty now. Yes, it was expensive and pretty. But they were a happy young couple committing to life together. The now historic second kiss they snuck was incredibly unrefined and loving. The stories of Prince Harry’s “survivors’ breakfast” for the guests who could stay up all night was exactly what a best man/brother should have done. The queen, after the royal reception, left the castle to the couple and friends. Yes, it was a castle, but it was not much different from the wedding of my friends. It was beautifully, refreshingly normal.
That same week I went to see the famous flower fields of Carlsbad. I had wanted to visit them last year, but did not make it out before they closed for the summer. I was so excited to go see these acres of blooms. I wanted to practice a little photography and see if I could get a good shot or two. I woke up early, made the drive, paid my entrance, and excitedly entered the fields.
The fields were pretty. There were a lot of flowers.
There were many kinds of flowers there.
I am glad that I went. I wish that I had gone a little earlier in the season because some of the flowers were starting to wilt and die, but it was nice. It just wasn’t the overwhelming experience I thought that it would be. Perhaps I had built it up too much in my mind, but I expected…more. I expected breathtaking. I expected. I may have expected too much. I liked the flowers, but had thought I would be inspired, I would fall in love, I would rave about it and never want to leave. I was satisfied rather quickly, much faster than the driving I did to get there and back. These famous fields simply were not as great as I thought that they would be. In fact, possibly my favorite part of the field was a mistake, something only I seemed to notice:
It struck my, on the way home, that it was the ordinary, the unexpected that moved me. This magnificent flower patch was pretty, but it did not make me feel like I had hoped it would. Instead, I thought about the yellow flowers (okay, weeds) that line my route to and from work. The wall of yellow against the freeway, following the river bank, makes me happier than most things these days. They are my flowers, my spring, my joy. Today I spotted this poking through the parking lot fence:
I made sure to return and take a quick picture of it on my way home from the grocery store. These are the things that I love deeply. They are the everyday. They are the common beauty. They make this city of concrete and this world of pain a little more friendly and beautiful. They are the free, accidental gifts of life. They are quiet and simple. This is what made the wedding great, the flowers stunning: the unremarkable. The simplest things bring the most awe.
“Happiness is just outside my window/ Thought it’d crash blowing 80-miles an hour?/ But happiness a little more like knocking/ On your door, and you just let it in?” –The Fray, “Happiness”