Drying Up, like Hydrangeas, can be a Beautiful Thing!

Dear Reader:

This time of year hydrangeas are more beautiful to me than in spring when the blooms of blue, pink, white, or purple hues first open into the new season and year of life.

As they are now slowly drying up in the late July heat on the plant…I start preparing my glass jars (with a little water) to welcome them inside to let them enjoy their “retirement” time for as long as possible.

When I walk through the garden I purposefully stop and stare intently inside the drying hydrangea…it is like looking through a kaleidoscope as a child…the more one stares the more patterns and subtle colors seem to emerge within.

I have always thought that as we age… our outer looks, our vessel, begins to fade…. if we are really lucky…another, more subtle beauty starts to transpire…reflected in our voice, eyes, and mannerisms. The memory of who we really are beneath our skin… begins to show to those we love around us and who love us in return..


It is like what Mufasa tells Simba…“Remember who you are.” 

…because one day it will be who you reflect… in the qualities you best represent…in the life you have lead.

So we need to stop worrying about losing the bright colors of our youth and instead appreciate the more subtle, diversified shades created from our accumulated life experiences. Good and bad.

The real joy these days is still feeling wanted and loved…I smile appreciatively when a grandchild asks when I will return to see them or when our family next gathers for a cook-out.

*I recently read the best answer to that question for young children who still don’t understand time.

Conor O’Shea’s (main character in a book I am reading) little six-year-old twin boys always ask their dad (when he is leaving to conduct a tour of Ireland)

….”How many sleeps before you are back, Dad?” 

Now that is the perfect way to look at time for children…and adults. “How many sleeps before we see certain loved ones again or before we have another Ya retreat or before we see a friend who lives out-of-town… or even before medical appointments or any other kind of calendar event.

So until tomorrow…Isn’t it wonderful that God, our Creator, is the only One who knows how many “sleeps” we have in our individual lives…and the one lingering question we can all ask

“How many sleeps before you are back, Father?”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*Ann Graves received some wonderful news yesterday….after completing her chemo treatments a couple of weeks ago…she heard from her surgeon that  the original tumor has shrunk to the point that the surgeon will now only have to perform a lumpectomy on her! Relief, happiness, and thankfulness…including everyone’s prayers! The symbolic bell, at the end of her chemo treatments, did ring hope and new beginnings!




About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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