“The answer is that we are not helpless in the face of our first impressions. They may bubble up from the unconscious – from behind a locked door inside of our brain – but just because something is outside of awareness doesn’t mean it’s outside of control.”
Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
Her spine was curved as a broken tree trunk. Face weathered and her mouth over large for her face and longed for the filling of teeth. Her river-silver hair sat in odd clumps on her head. I marvelled at her ugliness. It was odd but she actually contained her own kind of beauty. She sank to her knees next to a flower bed as she reached out a gnarled hand and pulled at the weeds embedded in front of her.
I regularly passed this lady working in her garden. The seasons changed and so did her garden. Once I passed her home and I saw that she had a gardener with her.
“Ah, I’m glad to see that today you have some help. What on earth are you planting?” There were mounds of earth everywhere.
The lady gave a chuckle. “Wait and see!” She had a low, deep voice. “In summer you’ll get a lovely surprise.”
We smiled at each other and I moved on. A couple of months later, I was returning from a friend’s home and I took the road leading past her house. My little old lady was there filling her bird bath. What a sight met my eyes! I gave a gasp of unadulterated delight. Purple-blue Irises crowded the garden surrounding her. They were everywhere. An amused chuckle accompanied those blue eyes as the woman waved me forward.
“Would you like to take a look? Come!” She held out her hand and I took her arm as I entered into her garden. It was a mass of bruised purple blooms. The tall, beautiful iris, named after the Greek goddess who rode rainbows, gently moved in the breeze. A yellow butterfly lazily flitted amongst the petals. “I told you that in summer you would get a surprise,” she said laughing softly. “I love my garden. Each day I am presented with a different surprise. It might be a butterfly, a humming bird, a gardenia…who knows?” The blue eyes twinkled at me from that beautiful face.
I was reminded that day never to judge by first impressions. They can be so misleading. At the moment, her garden is overflowing with daffodils and tulips. And a lovely little old woman with piercing blue eyes…..