Riot & Shine

“Mama, her Instagram feed is all flowers…..and drinks.”

You could practically hear the eye-roll in her voice. No one has truly arrived until a fourteen-year-old has thrown shade at them over their social media account.


My girlfriend’s daughter was right, anyway. Maybe not so much about the cocktails, but definitely about the flowers. The camera is one of the things I love most about my iPhone and the function that gets the most action for sure. I’m lucky enough to live in Boston where city space and green space are in constant, loopy collision. I am always on the visual prowl and if you’re willing to wander with eyes and mind wide open there is no shortage of ocular candy.

Clouds reflected in the glossy faces of skyscrapers.

The ugly, rusty railings of a bridge that have been yarn bombed, wrapped in wooly love (seriously, most excellent. Google it. It’s a thing).

And flowers—buds, shoots, great bursts of orangeyellowpinkwhite or tiny pearls topping green stems or the silvery-purple leaves of grub from the garden. There’s no shortage of life everywhere, even in the dank, dungeon of frozen February (thank God).

Blooms and me, we just get each other.

Lately I’ve noticed blooms misbehaving. I catch these mad petals spilling, shooting, twining, climbing, winding themselves around iron gates. I see them pushing their sunny faces against chain link fences, I’ve caught them ganging up on metal utility poles, bursting through the cracks of concrete, clustered around fire hydrants. It’s such a joy to see Nature unhinged.

flower 1

I cannot get enough of their insistence, their resilience, their unwillingness to be contained. I drink up their stubborn refusal to sit neat and pretty, to bloom only where they are planted. We need more of this. We need some joy anarchy up in here. We don’t need “I can shout louder,” we need I can color this place brighter. Because it feels like we’re crammed into the small plots of our lives and we’re groomed to stick to our neat rows as if that’s the secret of success or the key to a meaningful life. That’s a suspicious premise if there ever was one.

flower 4

flower 5

What’s the point of having so much beauty and flare if you’re not going to let it run rampant over this cold, hard, blacktopped world?

It’s that whole light/not under a bushel thing that constitutes the extent of what stuck from my Catholic upbringing. It’s a bit of bird-flipping, nose-thumbing to some pretty grim territory trying to pave over hope. Nope o’clock these flowers seem to say.

Riot and shine, is what I say, because there’s no time to waste and there’s a lot of area to cover in love, light, and promise and bloom wherever you damn well please.

flower 2






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