Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Gift of Flowers

I had a colleague who was always very kind.  He would share this breakfast coupons from McDonald’s. Every now and then, he would give me a free egg McMuffin and a hash brown.  He also brought in treats for everyone to enjoy.  Some of the women complained that they were gaining too much weigh because of the goodies.  He laughed and shruged it off.  Then he would look at me, “well, you don’t seem to gain weigh no matter what I feed you.”  I never knew what to say to that.

It was Valentine’s Day, the day of LOVE.  Throughout the day other women in the office received their flowers.  My partner and I agreed that flowers were unnecessary because we were on a tight budget.  So to me it was an average day where I balanced the client’s accounts, wired money and returned a few calls.
I normally ate at my desk and enjoyed my spinach lasagna or chicken teriyaki.  Very rarely would I bring a lunch from home.  As I was chewing away, I received a call from reception - I received a package.  ‘It must be the cheque I’m waiting to deposit,’ I thought.

I normally would jump right away but I took my time.  I really wanted to eat my Valentine day’s lunch while it was hot.  A girl has to treat herself sometimes and that’s why I had a slice of cake.  I took my time as I savoured every piece of it.  After 30 minutes of "me time," and in my bliss.  I forgot about the package at the front desk. 
As I pushed open the door that lead to the reception area I saw a large bouquet of flowers. “Wow, who are those for?”  I leaned in and smelt them.  There was a dozen long stem roses dressed with a large bow and colourful wrapping.

“They’re yours,” she replied.

“No way, I don’t get flowers,” but secretly I really wanted some.
“Yes, they are yours,” she laughed at me.

I haven’t received flowers this extravagant before. 
I held them with great joy.  There was no note or card which I found that to be quite strange.  I didn’t call my partner knowing we agreed no flowers.  Did I have secret admirer? I took them to my desk.  They were huge that they didn’t fit in my work space.  I had to put them on the table behind me.  I didn’t remove them from the packaging because something deep inside me said they were not mine.  But, every few minutes I would hold them close to my heart and inhale their scent.

I kept looking for a card or sign of who send them.  The only thing attached was a business card.  It was a Chinese flower shop from uptown Toronto.  For sure these were not for me.  My colleague came back and I asked if he would help.  He spoke Chinese and I wanted him to call the store.  He didn’t feel comfortable so I waiting for another colleague to come back from lunch.

When she arrived she noticed the flowers first, “wow, someone really loves you.”
“Maybe so, but, I don’t think they're for me.  Could you please call the store and find out who sent them?” I asked.

She took the information from the bouquet and called from her office.  I stared at her door waiting for her to come out.  It took a few minutes because the store clerk was extremely stressed out.  One of their clients was angry that his wife didn’t receive the flowers and it was past 3pm.  His name was Mr. Chang (I changed the name.) That’s really funny because my male colleague’s name was Mr. Chang too.  The woman's name was Naomi Chang.  That was so bizarre.  The store delivered the flowers to the wrong floor in my building and since there was a “Naomi” and a "Chang" on our floor, I received these beautiful flowers.
My male colleague chuckled, “well, you know if we were married, you would be Naomi Chang.”

‘Oh boy,’ I thought as I turned away quickly.
The owner of the flower shop said I could keep them and they would send another bouquet.  It was too late in the afternoon and I decided I would deliver the flowers to Naomi Chang, myself.  I didn’t open the flowers I only smelt them a few times.  I gathered the bouquet in my arms and headed out into the reception.  I explained to my friend what happened and we laughed together.  I took the elevator two floors down and march up to the desk and said, “I have a delivery for Naomi Chang.”

I returned to the elevators and watched as Naomi retrieved them.  She was glowing and I felt a warming in my heart.  I knew I did the right thing.  Someone or something out there knew I would love them too.  Oh.. what a gift of flowers can do.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Passing Conversation

On a warm autumn day, I finished my last appointment for the afternoon.  I had some free time and sat on a cement flower bed that surrounded a young tree.  I took a number of deep breaths and asked for some inner guidance on which way to go.  I finally stood and walked east but stop in my tracks because I was pulled west. 
I strolled up a side street and looked at the surrounding the trees.  The leaves were slowly turning orange and I felt like I missed the changes that occurred over the past few days.  The branches were not completely bare but they were certainly thinning out.
I walked with my head down and someone walked by.  I felt a shift in my stance but I didn’t think to say hello.  I continued along the street and the next person that approached I smiled and greeted him with a hi. I was getting closer to starting a conversation with each person that passed.  I crossed the street and started to sing a little tune.
The thought of “speaking to people” came to me as I noticed the number 777 on a licence’s plate.   I looked beyond the car and there was a woman.  She was with a dog that was eating plants from a nearby garden.   She held a leash in one hand and in the other hand two bags of bird seeds.  The bags were both large but the feed was low.  I finally approached with a smile and said hello.
She returned the greeting.  We made direct eye contact and that’s when our conversation started.  The dog was enjoying his meal of green leaves.  She stated that the dog wasn’t hers, it belonged to her neighbour.  Her dog died last year.
She told me how her dog ate these green leaves in gardens too. She didn’t know what drew her dog to only these types of leaves.
“One day I decided to try it and they are really sweet,” she told me with a look of surprise.  How did her dog know?  Reminiscing she rubbed a leaf between her fingers.  She only looked up when I reached out to touch it. 
She shared that her dog would eat new grass that was growing near water.  She spoke of her former pet with great love and admiration.  Within weeks of her dog death, it dug up roots of some plants to eat.  She described how intuitive her pet was even up to her dying moments.
I pointed to the bags of bird seeds, “You must have pet birds too?”  She lifted them and laughed slightly.  She said, “No, I feed the birds in the park.”  As I listened the dog sniffed the leaf in my hand and I feed it to him. 
She began to recall an experience with her beloved pet.  When they took a walk in that area a pigeon was lying still on the grass in the park.  They left the pigeon but when she returned there was an elderly Italian man standing over the bird.  He took care of ill pigeons, but he asked her if she would take this one home with her.  He gave her detailed instructions to care for the sick bird.  She didn’t question him and she decided it was the right thing to do.

At her home in a quiet room the bird didn’t move for three days.  On the fourth day, it finally rose and she brought it outside on her porch.  She watched the bird and it landed on its right side.  She knew that the pigeon was unable to be alone.  She carefully took it back inside.  The next day, she tried again, and the bird fell on its left side.  Again she knew that the bird was unable to be alone.  The following day the bird was outside and fell forward. Back inside they went.  The seventh day she tried once more this time the bird landed backwards.  She was very intrigued that the bird landing in the four directions of East, West, North and South.  The following days the bird flew a little bit and then became weak so she would take it indoors.  It took 12 days for the pigeon to completely recover.   She was surprised that the bird only pooped outside that whole time.  Ever since then she feeds the birds in the park where she found that ill pigeon.   
As she talked about her experiences with the pigeon she stated that people ask her why she helps animals and not homeless people.  She smiled and said, "there are many people helping the homeless. I feel that we need to help the animals." She felt that we have so much to learn from animals.  With that statement the dog on her leash decided he no longer wanted to wait quietly as we spoke.  He wanted to go to the park.
I thanked her for sharing her beautiful stories and she asked me what my name was.  Hers was Diane. The woman with the dog who feed the birds and has a loving heart.