An extra

Flowers are beautifully unnecessary, and therefore intriguingly profound.  August 2005

Flowers are beautifully unnecessary, and therefore intriguingly profound. August 2005

“Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle

It’s comforting to know that even the brilliant Sherlock Holmes was taken aback by the beauty of flowers.  As always, his logic is flawless, even when applied to something that defies logic.  Here, he admits that the rose is a gift of divine grace, an embellishment of life that speaks of hope for greater things.

Whenever you are beset with gloom, remember the words of Holmes.  We have much to hope from the flowers.

One year ago today:

To flowers



  1. Monet is one of my favorites! At the Minneapolis Institute of Art there is a haystack painting I’ve admired for years. Imagine my delight, when I found three or four more at the art museum in Chicago! I hadn’t know they were a series.

    • Susan, I wish you had been with Jeff and me today. We went to the National Gallery of Art and saw tons of wonderful paintings, including many by Monet. Some of them are among his most famous so I’m sure you have seen them. None of the haystack series, though. I didn’t know they were a series either. I must have missed them at Chicago. I’ll have to go back and check my photos to see if I did see them and just don’t remember.

  2. singleseatfighterpilot

    Conan-Doyle was good with words. How is it possible that The Word is so pre-eminent? 1 Peter 1: 22-25 can only make sense in light of John 1:14.

    • Interesting point. Words are our most commonly used symbols, and they are wholly dependent upon their underlying meaning to grant them whatever importance they have. These verses are a good example of the ultimate meaning, as one of the many Biblical names that refer to God. Since all language used to describe God would necessarily be symbolic (due to limited human understanding) perhaps there is a kind of double message to be drawn from referring to God as “THE Word” (emphasis mine).

  3. HarryS

    Wow wee!!!!!!!!!!!

    • πŸ˜€ I agree! πŸ˜€

  4. Ann

    It”s too hot for anything to be blooming right now. Thanks for the beautiful photograph. I may even stop by Trader Joe’s and pick up a bouquet of flowers today!

    • Don’t you just love their flowers? So fresh, pretty and colorful. I’ve never seen any there that looked even slightly droopy. At our TJ’s they always put them right inside the front door on a big display, which is an instant mood-booster when we walk in the door!

  5. A profound thought. Illogical beauty reveals divinity.

    • That’s a good way to sum up Doyle’s more verbose comment. It is one worth thinking about!

  6. Thanks Julia,
    Despite a flawed world, God has given us Earth. In it are flawless natural laws and immeasurable beauties that are of His essence. These laws, when followed, remind us of His loving intentions for us. Yet, in the mean time, He offers a respite when needed, through the endless beautiful wonders He provides; one being flowers.

    • Thank you Alan, we were able to enjoy some of those wonders today. Jeff and I were in DC and the gardens around the Smithsonian are beautiful right now, well-tended and colorful. And the works inside the museums were a gorgeous and multi-faceted tribute to the artists’ appreciation of all aspects of the creation. We needed the respite, and we were happy to be blessed with it today!

  7. Sheila

    Julia, so beautiful, and the highlight of how you and Jeff spent the day just completed your post. Rest well my friends! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Sheila, you too! ❀

  8. raynard

    Julia you got me( singing before work) that song” these are a few of my favorite things).Keep reminding about gardens ( especially those tickets we need to use that we got for our anniversary last year to the Dupont museums). be blessed

    • Raynard, I am officially nagging you to use your Dupont Garden pass! There were no raindrops on those roses, but roses do bring that song to my mind too. Next I will have to do a post about bright copper kettles or wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings. πŸ˜€ Hope you have a great weekend!

  9. Michael

    Someone said that,” God wrote two books- one the Bible and the second nature.”
    Also could we say that music is also an extra? And when certain pieces of music grab us and our spirits resonate we get a glimpse and a note that there is something more?

    • Yes, I have always thought that some music is so beautiful that it must spring from some otherworldly source. Handel’s Messiah comes to mind when I think of such pieces. A lot of artists speak of seeing themselves as conduits for their work, and not the ultimate source. Re: the “second nature” – I think Paul touches on this idea in Romans 2:13-16.

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