Have you ever planted lantana and watched it grow and flow over the border of your flower bed? When I began photographing a flower a day on August 2, 2016, I never dreamed the project would still be going at the 650 day mark, much less flourish and grow in unexpected directions.
This photographic odyssey has become a celebration of nature in addition to a way to honor an Alzheimer’s journey. Through the discipline of deliberately connecting with nature on a daily basis, I have come to understand that every individual needs to seek ways to engage with the natural world. As shared by Michael McCarthy in the recent On Being podcast about nature, joy and human becoming, “We have a link to the natural world that goes to the essence of who we really are.”
In a presentation this week by some of the amazing researchers at the Emory Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, one of 27 active centers in the nation supported by the National Institutes of Health, it was explained that inflammation in the body and related health issues such as diabetes and vascular disease are present as long as two decades before Alzheimer’s symptoms begin to present themselves, so the time to do something to prevent the disease is today.
While some factors are beyond our control, there are things we can do for our long term health. To me, that circles us back to nature. We can decrease inflammation by reducing stress, avoiding toxins in our environment, making good food choices, and exercising. Each of those things can be done when we spend time outside and when we develop a passion for appreciating and nurturing our earth. So doing allows us to better care for ourselves as we aim for a healthy future.
As “Flowers for Mom” bloom beyond their original border, it is a gift to exhibit and speak about the series, so do let me know when you discover unique opportunities for sharing this work. One day, modern medicine may discover a cure for Alzheimer’s, but that day has not yet come. So, on this day, I encourage you to celebrate nature!
On Sunday, we celebrate Mother’s Day, so how about some flowers in honor or memory of your mom or someone special in your life? Join the blooming Flowers for Mom Facebook group to share photos of what you plant or give to that special someone. Do it for your health!