Stopping to Smell the Flowers by Marie Cartier

Photo by: Kimberly Esslinger

There is a saying, “Take time to smell the flowers.” Attributed to many different sources, it means among other things–  take time and be grateful. Take time and relax. Take time.


Photo by: Kimberly Esslinger

In that spirit I am sending along pictures from the amazing “super bloom” California is experiencing this spring. It is the most magnificent we have ever had, I think. It happens once a decade, but we are lucky to have had a super bloom in 2017 and now this year as well.  California had an extreme drought last year and then extreme rain this past winter. And now we have flowers…and flowers. Poppies are the state flower of California and they are being celebrated—all over. And people dropping in by helicopter and influencers ruining some of the poppy beds by laying in them for Instagram pics. Yes, it’s been crazy. But, when we were there (my wife and I) on a past Sunday, it felt so magical that so much of Los Angeles it seemed was out to smell the flowers. You can see a picture of folks lined up (my wife at the end in the picture below) photographing the flowers. Flowers suddenly are the new super star!

It felt like community. It felt pagan and magical—at least for me.

I know it is virtual, FAR community, but for just a few minutes, I offer you this meditation—let’s take a breath and take time and smell the flowers. All of these pictures are from Lake Elsinore’s Walker Canyon outside of Los Angeles, which this year is visible even from space.

Poppies are celebrated in mythology for being that of the dead and of sleep—so it’s interesting to “take time and smell the flowers” in California, for that is our state flower of poppy. But it is more widely known also as a symbol of remembrance and hope.

As we move into spring, my wish is that your spring be filled with hope.  And may you be able to take time to smell the flowers.


Marie Cartier has a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University.  She is the author of the critically acclaimed book Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall (Routledge 2013). She is a senior lecturer in Gender and Women’s Studies and Queer Studies at California State University Northridge, and in Film Studies at Univ. of CA Irvine.

Categories: environment, Feminism, Feminism and Religion, General, Mother Earth, Nature, Sacred Space, Seasons, Spirituality

Tags: , , , , , , ,

10 replies

  1. Wow who knew that the state flower of CA was the poppy? If so why isn’t opium their cash crop?


  2. I was in California visiting family a few weeks ago and saw with mine own eyes and smelled with mine own nose. Bliss! Also all the city gardens were in bloom, hedges of Rosemary, lavender, succulent. In the summer California poppies begin their long, gorgeous blooming in my northeastern garden. I call the patch where they bloom my happy place. Thanks for sharing this joy. The photo in my last post is of the super bloom.


    • Any California friends who might read the above comment, I was only in CA for a long weekend visiting a close family member I had not seen in several years. I hope to be back for a longer visit someday!


  3. The last time I saw a super bloom was a decade ago or longer, but I still remember how impressively beautiful it was. Thanks for your post and the photos.


  4. Thanks Marie, wonderful that expression, “stopping to smell the flowers.” And what else does that mean? Maybe not always looking to make a profit, but living more for the joy of living in and of itself. And in a delightful way, that includes our work here at FAR too, we do it entirely for the joy of sharing and the gift of interacting and great that is indeed.


  5. Aren’t they amazing?
    As a plant and flower woman I can’t NOT take time for the flowers… Here too in New Mexico rain has brought a reprieve from ongoing drought – however brief – and every blooming wildflower brings amazing grace. All Poppies including the California poppies which i grow here – honor both death and life and are one of my favorite flowers…


  6. Thank you for this delight of aromatic posting! Here is a post I wrote from 2012 while in Arizona, when the poppies there were singing to me:


  7. Marie, I saw the picture from space of the poppies. It is on You Tube. Spectacular!



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