Forget Me Not
A raceme (/reɪˈsiːm/ or /rəˈsiːm/) is an unbranched, indeterminate type of inflorescence bearing pedicellate flowers — flowers having short floral stalks called pedicels — along its axis. In botany, axis means a shoot, in this case one bearing the flowers. In indeterminate inforescences like racemes, the oldest flowers are borne towards the base and new flowers are produced as the shoot grows, with no predetermined growth limit.
Henry David Thoreau wrote, “The mouse-ear forget-me-not, Myosotis laxa, has now extended its racemes very much, and hangs over the edge of the brook. It is one of the most interesting minute flowers. It is the more beautiful for being small and unpretending; even flowers must be modest.”
Forget Me Not
Today is my 50th birthday. I haven’t celebrated a birthday for twenty years or so; (Myosotis)… my, oh so ‘tis… sure doesn’t seem that long ago.
I had forgotten my birthday and surprisingly was reminded by my husband, of all people, this morning that I have reached 50. This made me ask why he remembered; he hasn’t celebrated a birthday for as long as me!
I recalled a Bible story expressing pleas to God not to forget the distress of the helpless and remembered cries from Job of having been found blameless, wishing he had not been born so he would not have to endure the agony of being forsaken while forced to endure the futility of his reactions to his learning about humility; a pawn of helplessness in the face of accountability. It’s also a bit like thinking of a former lover and wishing the meeting had never taken place to avoid enduring the agony of being forgotten and forsaken.
When I was younger, I stopped celebrating birthdays because I felt they symbolized selfishness by boosting up the ego, undeservedly since we played no part in our own birth other than being the result of it. We certainly weren’t responsible for it, nor did we ask to be born. Why did we deserve gifts? I felt birthday celebrations belonged to the way of “get” (for-get-me) rather than the way of “give” (for-give-me) even though the birthday celebration concept is to give gifts, it is also to get/receive them. I was opposed to supporting the idea of expectation, fruitless due to disappointment when expectation was not met. My observances have been mostly of people having a hard time forgiving and feeling they deserve or are owed something once an expectation enters their thoughts.
Rituals and traditions generally lose altogether, or a lot of, their meaning over time and become nothing more than “something that you just must do”, or, as to the former lover, one becomes, “just someone that you used to know”; forgotten and forsaken. This example may sound like silly-heartbreak-throw-a-fit-kid-stuff however I think the lesson has more depth than that because it involves forgiveness.
Not observing a tradition, forces one to observe. Some understanding is gained through examination of oneself, others and of a tradition itself. Searching for meaning, I find, means finding reasons and coming to an understanding (what is standing under what we see), what is the cause of the drama and what is behind the scenes. It’s important to know why we do the things we do. It is our thoughts; what we think which triggers not only our actions, but also our reactions.
Traditions become routines and I am sure that while many people have no idea, nor care to know about the origins of most traditions; many most likely set them aside for the traditions to, live on thus making the original meaning irrelevant, or null and void for the traditions sake or for the sake of those practicing them (for the sake of men; mankind).
What stood out about birthday recognition, this morning anyway, is how it is screams, “Forget me not; I’m still here!” I think as we age, turning more inward as we go about conducting our daily business and personal affairs; we forget why we do some of the things we do. Sometimes we become more rather than less focused on why we do things habitually, especially, the nearer we are or the closer we want to be to retirement. In regards to our routines, birthdays only come around once a year, but our habits and habits formed from our thoughts about the meanings of these annual events can affect our daily rituals. For instance, if we set age based goals and do not meet our expectations we may set the stage for disappointment. Upon reaching 50, my expectations have changed. I still want to be like my third grade birthday gift, Dare-Devil-Debbie doll, possessing the ability to take risks and forever face challenges fearlessly, with strength and awesome resources like a stylish and cool lime-green, pink-accented motor bike (with a quiet engine, of course; I like my peace… must’ve been what her bikes peace sign sticker stood for
Birthdays can be a way of letting you know whether you are ahead or behind in your age based goals. They can be looked at as a raceme in the, race-me, or a-race-me (erase me… for-get-me) sense, the erasure of our predeterminations may be what allows for the unrestrained racing to sprawl into indeterminate growth (not having a predetermined limit of growth); this is promising. I am reminded of God promising unlimited growth after we bloom forth from this lowly form and its restrictions we are forced to endure.
While each years birthdate reminds us of our limitations, and like the mouse-ear-forget-me-not flower, Henry David Thoreau observed when he wrote about the sprawling growth of the small and minute flowers overhanging the brook, and how they needn’t be grand and bold to hold great interest; in us too there is an inherent beauty though in the scheme of things we are small and minute. We hold a desire to be remembered (to be loved) not only on our birthday or on any other designated day; everyday and every little minute of it.
Reflecting today, on my birthday and its meaning or a small portion thereof, I am reminded to forgive (to-not-be-grudging) and hold to the expectation, there is no limit to what God is creating of each of us through his tree of life with its extended branch, Jesus Christ, whom is the stem of all life and though we are of modest form now, God remembered us; sending his son to spring us from this small life in giving us an awesome and graceful resource in order to lift us above obstacles now shortening our limbs, so we can be free flowing, spreading and ever branching out with more lovely and beautiful blossoms.