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Lilies and Life's Transitions

Updated on December 14, 2012


Recently I posted comments on someone’s hub which he strongly suggested I publish as a stand-alone hub. He felt it had wider application and might be useful to others.

For my comments, actual lilies here on my coffee table lent themselves to expressing my response to his searching poem, - basically concerned with unwieldy transitions occurring in his life and possibly what seemed an unclear path ahead.

I’ve written comments with threads of thought on others' hubs before but have never attempted converting any to stand-alone hubs, so I lack experience.

I think I’ll just post this one pretty much “as is” so you can decide its merit for yourself.

I would gladly acknowledge the hubber inspiring it, but prefer he do that himself if it is his wish.

. . .from my perspective. . .
. . .from my perspective. . .

I started the comment off with these lines I wrote in November, 1971:

I need to be unassigned

A function,

Free to be

What I am, best,

Whatever that might be.


I like a few loose ends,

Don’t you?

____© Nellieanna H. Hay

This one was not included there:


We try

To explain

Where we are

When we

Want to get there.

When we arrive

Where we're going -

We'll still be

Where we are.

The journey

Is the thing.

____© Nellieanna H. Hay

The Comment's Substance

In transit, which all of life is, one experiences everything from vertigo to moments of sublime clarity. From it will come the awareness that it's ALL being "there". That's what it IS. Life is in process, on the move. One's feelings about it are all valid feelings, even the confusion. Accepting the nature of life and one's own nature is reaching a vital balance and discovering the essential core where one IS and where it is possible to experience it all fully without becoming unglued by it. Every moment IS a startup to some degree. What seems contradictory is simply life doing its thing.

I bought some lilies at the grocery store today - well, Saturday. I always swear I won't buy more flowers, but then I see them the moment I walk in the door and always buy some if I’m out of them at home. I guess I’m incorrigible.

I’ve kept fresh flowers on my den table for about 6 years now. When I started buying them, they were 3 bunches for $10. Now they are $5 a bunch. This time I bought a bunch of yellow ones and a bunch of rosy ones. The yellow ones had a 11-30 sell-by date; the others, a 12-4; hence the difference in the following stages, probably. I'll manage to keep some for two weeks.

So here these are before me on my coffee table. A few of them are still little green buds, while other buds have grown fatter & longer but are still green, just a little lighter green.

Some of the buds are now starting to take on the colors of the lilies they'll open up into.

Some of the buds which will become yellow have become mostly white replacing the green, some are becoming ivory colored. Some have opened up to their full yellow glory. The rosy ones to-be vary from white and a touch of pale color on their ends to almost all the pale color. None of the rosy ones are opened up, but I know they are to be rosy because some of the bunches just like them had a few opened flowers. I picked this bunch because it seemed healthy and potent.

The leaves are also in transit. They’ll gradually change from their bright green to duller and then yellow creeps into them and they turn yellow. Some will fall off at any stage.

So which are the "perfect" lilies here? Which of them is more of a lily? Buds in various stages of developing? Flowers fully opened?

Within their stay with me, the blossoms will gradually become more transparent, then some of their petals will begin to fall off on the table. Some of the petals will dry, perhaps. And a few of the buds won't make it open at all, some will turn yellow but stay tightly closed. I’ve even seen the dark stamen through their tight fists but the flowers just didn’t open normally.

I'll keep nursing the different-stage survivors along till I may only have one or two flowers and a struggling bud or two, and some greenery, but I'll trim off the ends of their stems, back to the healthy parts, put them in clean water in a smaller vase with a little fresh-flower food and they will give me all they can for as long as they can. Sometimes if I take the buds which develop without opening off with very short stems and put them in their own small vase, they will at least survive awhile and may even open more.

I even sometimes gather the fallen petals if they are lively and put them into a short vase of water and “build” a lily - which lasts a day or so! Add a fallen green leaf or two - and it’s an amazing concoction! Fun to have on my kitchen windowsill to see when I’m working there.

In the process of developing, the lilies’ stamen will become very dark and if I happen to touch them, the pollen will stain my clothing. I've learned that I can brush it off with a dry clothes brush but if any water touches it, it will be almost permanent. A lengthy soak in Oxyclean is the only hope then. LOL. I really do try to avoid this!

But how dramatic a life-show they are! Even cut and confined to someone's den table in a vase, the lilies (and other flowers as fit their natures) still go through their normal life stages, though with the barest of life-support. No bees or bugs to cross-pollenate them, still they put out their pollen. The blossoms burst forth with their beauty to attract the bees, just in case. They give pleasure in return for my coaxing them along. Is life amazing, or what?

So I thank you, my friend, who saw value in my words ~ and for any others of you who do.

Hugs, Nellieanna


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    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Dear Audrey - I appreciate your stirring up the embers of such an 'ole' hub - as measured in hublife, at least. Thank you! I've always had a certain fascination for the amazing life cycles of short-lived living things. Of course, flowers are merely one stage of the life of a bit lengthier life form, but they seem to have independent life of their own!

      Perhaps that's a metaphor for all life forms and we/they are all just single stages of more significant forms, which, in turn, are parts of yet more significant ones. We might learn much from simply shifting our gazes occasionally~

      I'm glad you shifted mine 'way' back her to one of my much earlier hubs! I hadn't visited it in many moons! :-)

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      6 years ago from California

      I so believe that a flower blooming and fading is an apt and lovely metaphor for the vitality and energy of life. Well said Nellianna, well said!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      toknowinfo, what a nice compliment! Of course, attitude is a major component in the quality of one's life.

      So much of our perception of what goes on around is fully subjective. Actually, we have no other way of perceiving, using all our 5 senses, which are uniquely our own, as are our minds which must process the information perceived by the senses, all being influenced by our state of health, how our day has been going plus all our past training, experiences and our general attitudes. We perceive very much according to what we expect to find, plus all this produces effects on those externals. Others definitely respond to our attitudes and then that validates them and vice versa.

      We're constantly creating this environment for ourselves and all around us, and interacting with others' subjectivity. What's amazing is that so many folks seem oblivious to how attitudes & expectations do this boomeranging. So if theirs are negative & stir up others' negative responses, it likewise validates those attitudes back and forth like vicious circles. We have plenty of chances to test out this stuff! :-)

      Thank you much for your visit and thoughtful comments! I appreciate your saying my attitude is inspirational, though I'm thinking that positive (or the other kind) always must simply arise from within a person, though being around one kind or the other can reflect back. In order to become part of a person, though, it has to be self-inspired. Does that make any sense?

    • toknowinfo profile image


      7 years ago

      As we go through different stages in life, a big part is attitude. Transitions are made easier by our attitude. And I think your attitude is such a great inspiration, as is your writing.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      You don't know how good that makes me feel, HH. Thank you!!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      Reading you wonderful I can feel the beauty and warm your can spread. Thank you so much.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Marie - Your comments warm my heart. Yes, life is like that, and that is what IS. It is challenging to appreciate it while on its roller-coaster ride at times! Thank you, dear and wise soul.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      LaurieDawn - I LOVE that quote from Anais Nin! Her work is in my bucket list and I really should get to it! Thank you so much for your lovely comments and I'm pleased that you felt the better for visiting. I feel the better for your having done so! Hugs!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Alexandra - ah - "feels pink in here"! How expressive! Sometimes that is just what a weary spirit needs! Pink is nice. Green is actually my favorite color but I love them all and indeed, they do each have an aura all their own. Thank you for coming in and for your refreshing comments! They made me smile!

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 

      7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Life is just as complicated and transient as Lilies, such a beautiful flower. Thank you for your beautiful prose and wonderful way of looking at life Nellieanna. Much love as always. Marie.

    • LaurieDawn profile image


      7 years ago

      Oooo Nellieanna! You brought tears to my eyes, but tears of joy and remembering that often we remain ourselves in those tight buds, afraid to go after life and what it has to offer. One of my favorite quotes came to mind......"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." ~Anais Nin~

      Much like those beautiful lilies, opening, blossoming, showing their beauty as they open.

      Your poetry reminds me of beauty, open, stunning.



    • profile image


      7 years ago

      As so many others have expressed, it feels like meditation coming to your hubs. Your words flow calmly, drawing a truth that is well-considered and wise. It feels pink in here :)

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      drbj- such kind and abundant praise! Thank you, though I am but one of many poets on here who write inpiringly, especially you! You have such a talent for both clarity and great good fun! Your approval is music to my eyes!! :-)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      Nellieanna - I herewith proclaim you the Mistress of inspiring poetry and prose. Thank you for these lovely thoughts. And pictures. :)

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      That is so dear it almost brings tears to my eyes, Ken. Thank you. What more can I possibly say to such a lovely compliment?

    • saddlerider1 profile image


      7 years ago

      Oh but to be a translucent flower as you drop your wonderful seeds throughout our hearts and minds. Your pedals caress even the darkest souls and bring clarity to life.

      You do this for me with these magnificent works of art. Sweet lady always keep flowers in sight as they radiate the blooming spirit in you to spread your love amongst us all here. Big hugs from me to you...

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Aw, Dallas - sorry to hear about your knee. Hope it is to be restored, via pruning or whatever the means. No doubt it may not be instantaneous so you should have time to write, as you say! There is little value in spring chickenhood for us graduated to other seasons equally interesting. Thank you for the wonderful batting average!! WOW. :-)

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 

      7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Your words brighten my day... I just got back from doctor who says, "You ain't no spring chicken..." I had just blown my knee running up 99 steps going from the beach to a resort...(torn meniscus)

      I feel kinda like your translucent petals...

      However, I can make a difference. I will accept "pruning" and grow with vigor, and be stronger..!

      Now, I have more time for writing...!

      Always a plus side!

      Your poems are batting 120% of perfection...

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Dear Miss_jkim - what lovely tributes. To share a smile or soothe a brow are the ultimate heights! Thank you!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Thank you, Doug. These were not notes written to explain the poetry; rather the poems were added to enhance the notes - which were comments to a fellow poet.

      But I'm sort of a purist when it comes to poetry, as well. I don't care much for triteness or constructs. But I'm more about what does "speak to me" or - in the case of my own, "speak from me." I'm very much pleased that you enjoyed this hub combination. Honored, actually. I have much respect for discriminating tastes.

      Thank you.

    • miss_jkim profile image


      7 years ago


      Your words always have value and enlightenment. They bring a smile to my lips; they are a soothing balm to my, sometimes, troubled mind and heart. You are a rare treasure and I am so glad I have found you here on Hubpages.

    • profile image

      Doug Turner Jr. 

      7 years ago

      I'm sort of a purist when it comes to poetry; I don't care much for process notes, though I know with some poems an explanation can be very helpful. In any case, I not only enjoyed your short poems here, but also your inspiring words offered after. Thanks for the post.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Eiddwen - Life is ever-amazing, for sure. If I have any talent it is my awe of life. Thank you for coming here and sharing some of my efforts to describe it and relate it to our personal lives! Hugs.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Dave - That is quite an interesting possibility! For sure, my beloved friends here are beautiful and cherished flowers!! Thank you! Hope your travels are pleasant!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Steve - You must know how I am thrilled that you even READ my poetry! I know that poetry is not your thing! Thank you for that and for perceiving the meanings in the prose.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Merlin - I love your compliment! It’s always such a pleasure to read what you think of my stuff! Thank you.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Dimitris - Of course you are and you do! Thank you for identifying with my irises!

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      Yes Nellieanna life is very amazing and so is your talent.

      A quiet, dignified and heartwarming understanding of life's development and journeys.

      Thank you for sharing this special gift of yours.

      Take care Nellieanna.

    • DavePrice profile image


      7 years ago from Sugar Grove, Ill

      I suspect you have a few "flowers" here becoming translucent under your watchful care and your wonderful words. Sweet sweet Neliie, beautiful in so many ways.

    • SteveoMc profile image


      7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Well done again. It is so easy to follow you and your wisdom. BTW, the poetry ain't too bad either.

    • Merlin Fraser profile image

      Merlin Fraser 

      7 years ago from Cotswold Hills

      As with all your images both visual and the ones created in our minds there is always great value in your words and will always be so.

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      7 years ago from UK

      As a delicate flower myself, I know what you are talking about :-))

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      AWWWW, Christopheranton, thank you for that heart-warming compliment. That's a nice note on which to start my day, and it's another windy cold-front day outside. Glad I don't have to get out today. Got my errands done yesterday when it was relatively warmer.

      I wonder whether the British Isles get the "cold fronts" as we get. With such a large land mass as there is here, weather systems have a chance to gather force. Cold air from far north in Canade sweeps down and across our northern to southern western states and the Rocky Mountains and brings to Texas what we nickname "Blue Northers". They lose force as they get further south, but even in Del Rio where I lived growing up, there were occasional "northers". Strong winds are a factor, too. They have opportunity to gain force and speed over the land mass and frequently the "wind chill" is as much a factor in our cold weather as the actual temperatures. It seems to cut right through one. I suppose the equivalent there would be weather systems sweeping in and across the Isles from the northern oceans.

      Right now the actual temperature is 40F but the wind chills are in the 20s, so it feels colder than freezing. Tomorrow morning the actual freezing temperature of 32 will be reached, they say.

      But the best thing about the more temperate areas, is that both the length and intensity of winter are routinely more moderate. Our most intense "winter" occurs in mid-January till mid-February here in North Texas. But just when it gets really tiresome, it begins to taper off into an early spring. Not so, further north when winter starts in early November and stays till April at least. Of course, we have longer hot summers Nothing's perfect! :-)

      I'll bet your garden is lovely. Yes, much that is beautiful is transitory, but usually recurring, as well, and some are frequently recurring. And there is a parade of many lovely things. I suppose that if these things were constant, they would become ho-hum. Better to regret their passing and to look forward to their return, as you say is your own incentive. Keeps us on our toes! And winter has its pleasures, too.

      Thanks again for the pleasant visit!

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      7 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Lovely article. Even the lillies probably love you Nellieanna.

      I adore those lillies. Iv'e got a couple of them in my garden. They bloom in June, but sadly they only last a couple of weeks. Like a lot of the most beautiful things, they are too transitary. Still looking forward to the pleasure of their company each year is a powerful incentive to keep alive during the winter.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Thank you so much, Lisa! How kind of you to say that! Glad you stopped by!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Oh, Martie - Your garden sounds luscious. What a pleasure for you! And a pleasure for me to have you visit and leave such kind words. Thank you, sweet person! And I might add, it's good to see your lovely countenance more clearly in your profile picture! Hugs.

    • Lisa HW profile image

      Lisa HW 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts

      What a beautiful Hub. You do have a way with Hubs (and words, of course). :)

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      This is an awesome metaphor for a person’s life on earth, Nellieanna. Appreciating a bunch of lilies through your eyes was an amazing experience. Daylilies of various colors – baby-yellow, butter-yellow, canary-yellow, orange, salmon-pink, burgundy, etc. - in my garden is currently flowering – the most beautiful flowers - like all flowers, but stunningly unique. All of us are stunningly unique. Some of us are lilies, others are roses, or daisies, and some are even like the floppy flower of a cactus, able to fascinate us thoroughly.

      I agree wholeheartedly with you: “... when we accept the insecurity of our existence, we are freed to enjoy every moment of it, almost fearlessly.”

      You are precious, Nellieanna! You’re one of the most beautiful flowers, if not the most beautiful, in this vase called HubPages.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Katie - ah yes. Life forms other than ourselves can be great mirrors of some of our own experiences and even our emotions.

      I love so many varieties of flowers but for quite awhile, have been partial to lilies. They are so magnanimous, for one thing. Also they last well. And I find that even their greenery is enjoyable if it outlives the blossoms. The colors make every bouquet unique, as well. All white is a treat at times. There are some colors whose fragrance is bothersome to my nose & sinuses, though. The solid colors seem better in that regard. The colors are fun to mix!

      In the spring & early summer some lovely volunteer lilies come up in my back yard. It's a treat! I have pix of them on this webpage: - Should have thought to use those on this hub!

      Thank you so much for the visit and great comments!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Christopher, you could never qualify as a blooming (or any kind of) idiot. But if one feels it, that is valid at the time, so I won't try to persuade you otherwise. I am sure, though, that "this, too, shall pass" - which was my George's saying in such situations as one might prefer to end. They always do end unless we are just so married to them (situations) that we won't let them fade into the past and passed experiences and situations.

      Glad you stopped to comment! And I'll shush, since it may be you risked being cheered from or reprimanded for the funk and trusted me to avoid those responses. "Blue Funk" is always a good name for 'em. Gives them a substance which can be better manipulated, perhaps, similar to my "Fertile Flux" which is another type funk. Naming seems to help. :-)

      Thanks, dear heart. Hugs. . . .

    • katiem2 profile image


      7 years ago from I'm outta here

      Oh my the lilies are such a vast and wonderous expression of the many sides and virtues we humans experience. What a beautiful interaction to share and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to share this exchange of creative flow. I'm still in awe of the diversity of the flower and all it's twist and turns as in life. Peace and Love :)

    • Christopher Price profile image

      Christopher Price 

      7 years ago from Vermont, USA

      Nellieanna M'dear;

      I have been in a bit of a funk lately, feeling very like that lilly bud you described, clenched tight like a little fist. I have been reluctant to comment on hubs I have read, feeling my efforts futile. But you have drawn me out long enough to say thanks for this astute and analogous essay. It is true, in life we are, at times, very like these lillies. I find that comforting.

      To you from me; please consider this an appreciation of a lovely flower from a blooming idiot, and then I'll take my leave.


    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      SP - Thank you! That's one reason I left it up to him. I know he's the generous kind.

      Thanks for stopping and commenting, and for the fantastic votes! :-)

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Exactly, Laura! Part of being a "living thing" is the constant trasitional change. One of my favorite books is "The Wisdom of Insecurity". Alan Watts brings out that it is an "insecure" life and world. Sometimes our efforts to "secure" things only goes to cause us to miss the magnificent procession of change, which by its nature, is not "secure". Secure is static. Life is dynamic till it ceases to be, at which time, "life" as we know it ceases to BE. But when we accept the insecurity of our existence, we are freed to enjoy every moment of it, almost fearlessly. We can do what we were going to do without all the anxiety and fear of its changing. We know it will! And we can embrace the changes as they happen with equanimity. It's a great life!

      Thanks for your lovely visit, comments and votes!

    • The Suburban Poet profile image

      Mark Lecuona 

      7 years ago from Austin, Texas

      I'm sure your friend would prefer that you receive all the glory for this one... it's a beautiful way of looking at life and our various stages of existence...

      Up! Useful! Awesome! Beautiful!

    • Healing Touch profile image

      Laura Arne 

      7 years ago from Minnetonka, MN


      Just beautiful. I also love to have flowers on my kitchen table. They just inspire as I see they have inspired you. I love the way you have with words. I feel so calmed each time I come to your hubs.

      I love the transition analogy, it is so fitting. Even our flowers we cut and put in the vase... go through transition..... that is life

      I vote up awesome, beautiful, useful.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      No question about that, MA. Thank you for the observations. Everything we are able to perceive is, by definition, a perception of the subjective mind and subject to its variables, Therefore, many perceptions of the same thing exist simultaneously, there being many minds perceiving it.

      The same mind may even "see" a thing in different "lights" at different times, being preset with different moods and external effects on it. Perhaps "a flower is still a flower, except in various minds." - LOL

      But yes, so far as we know, it is only our perception or a flower which defines it thus. Thanks for the visit and, as ever, thoughtful comments.

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 

      7 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      What we perceive and what exists is being discovered to be a paradox...but a flower is still a flower,if only in the mind.;)


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