inspiration

A Dangerous Pleasure

You’re looking at 85 years of patience. In the 1920s, horticulturist Luther Gage introduced the Ranunculus flower to Southern California. Gage’s flowers were grown next to Frank Frazee’s vegetable farm in Oceanside, California, and it didn’t take Frank long to notice them and appreciate their beauty. In 1933 Frazee also began cultivating this flower.

One of the most pleasurable feelings for me is the emotion of anger. I love being pissed off. I enjoy the rumble of the volcano, vibrating within my gut, and the flashes of lightning that electrify my nerves.

But anger is a dangerous feeling. I can’t think rationally when I’m angry. And this makes me prone to try to solve a problem by doing something that is harmful to others or destructive to myself.

Frank’s son Edwin, soon dropped out of high school to help his dad on the flower farm. Edwin loved the flowers, and began to carefully develop different strains of Ranunculus, by selecting seeds from unusual flower colors and full flower shapes. He eventually developed blossoms of thirteen different hues, and also bred a Ranunculus bulb with a never-before-seen infusion of petals, known as a “double”. By 1965, Edwin had taken over the farm, and he moved the operation to these fields in Carlsbad, California.

Some people say that venting is healthy. But how healthy can that be, when it leads to saying things that alienate others? Or when it leads to doing things that destroy what we hold precious?

It feels damn good to blow off steam. But that good feeling can be addictive. Which leads to more and more blowing off of steam, until we become a regular teapot, frequently howling and whistling and bubbling up.

“Tecolote” means “owl” in Spanish. The Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flower was given this name for owls that nested in the Oceanside/Carlsbad area.

I’ve found that the best way to handle my anger is to avoid the venting method. Instead I wait. When I catch anger in time I stop what I’m doing and just wait. I savor the powerful feeling and allow it to churn and spin and roil inside, all that it wants, while I simply watch it like a spectator at a gladiator event.

Thumbs down, always! But only in my mind.

The Southern California climate is perfect for growing the Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flower. Over half a billion of these blooms can be seen waving their heads in the breeze on these 55 acres of land, during the springtime.

Anger takes a lot of energy, so it can’t last long. After a short while of watching the show it burns out and fades away, leaving a soft, lingering afterglow. That’s when I become capable of rational thought. And then I use the energy from the afterglow to address the problem in a way that is far more likely to resolve the issue, rather than make matters worse.

There are about 500 different species of Ranunculus. It is native to Asia Minor, and is a member of the buttercup family. But some think the Giant Tecolote Ranunculus resembles a rose. A “rose” that has no thorns.

But for me, anger is like a ninja warrior, or Cato stalking Inspector Clouseau. It suddenly strikes from nowhere, and quickly overtakes me. I must always stay on my toes and remain mindful of it. Only then can I recognize it in time, and stop what I’m doing before I fly off the handle and engage in behavior I’ll regret later.

These workers are gathering flowers for floral shops throughout the country. Perhaps you can thank them for helping you get over a spat with your spouse.

I’m not always successful. Sometimes a surprise attack of anger gets the best of me. And that really ticks me off. But I try. And I’ve found that with effort I can usually stop torrential rainstorms of anger from flooding and washing away the things in my life I’ve worked so hard to cultivate.

Edwin Frazee teamed up with another horticulturist, named Paul Ecke, Jr. It was Ecke’s idea to open the flower fields to tourists. Since 1992, the Flower Fields of Carlsbad have been open to the public from March into May, and have attracted thousands of peripatetic petal-gazers from all over the globe.

The result is softer rains, that nourish the soil of my toil. Rains from the hydrosphere that allow for carefully planned irrigation, planting, and growth. Rains that leave in their wake a cornucopia of beauty and color, for anyone to enjoy.

Just like fields of flowers in the springtime.

This American flag is made of petunias. It’s another feature you can view at the Flower Fields of Carlsbad, and is grown to honor our veterans.

Categories: inspiration

11 replies »

  1. I’ve never heard of Ranunculus flowers but I imagine large fields of them must be a sight to seeit’s an unusual pairing of an unusual flower with anger … but it works.

    So. What set off the anger this time?

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    • I’m glad it works or I would be pretty mad at myself.

      What inspired this was how angry I got a few days ago, trying to open a little plastic baggie at the grocery store so that I could put some fruit into it. I fairly destroyed several baggies, ripping and tearing futilely at both ends. Such a small issue, yet so suddenly the anger came on. I lost it for a few moments, until I caught myself.

      Nonetheless, I believe those #*@!ing baggie manufacturers should do a better job with their design. There. I said it.

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