"Irises are not just flowers to me; they are friends. They are sisters to me from way back in my father's garden, when I had to stretch and stand on tiptoe to smell them, for they were taller than me. Their watery fragrance floats through my childhood memories. Later I learned to associate this teasing, tentative perfume with the girls who were my earliest childhood crushes. The iris awakened me to beauty then, and still does today.

"In seven decades the lure of these fanciful blossoms has not diminished for me, and the golden fuzz on their bearded, drooping sepals with their fingerprint-like veins invites not only the bee but my own glance deep into the sunlit wedding tent of the translucent petals. I look and look and lose myself in this looking. Time stands still when I stand before an iris. Time is no more. All is now. And in this now, the iris comes forth from 'the no of all nothing' as an ever-so-delicate, ever-so-real 'Yes!' All of Van Gogh's irises are summed up and surpassed in this single one, moving ever so slightly in the morning breeze.

"When this happens, I have long left my thoughts far behind. They cannot keep up with my awareness. It has plummeted down to the point where this iris springs forth: now and now and now it leaps from nonbeing into being — together with the firethorn bush behind it, with the rail fence, with the sky and its towering cloud, together with myself. With every breath I can say, 'I am.' With every heartbeat I can affirm being out of nonbeing. Suddenly I understand what John Cage wrote:

Each something is a celebration of the nothing that supports it.

Does this find an echo in your heart before you start to figure out what precisely it means? I personally put my faith in the process of continuous creation that this line implies. I trust that process; I entrust myself to it. It is not an impersonal process, but the deepest of all personal relationships. Can you make a connection between the Nothing that supports everything — the Un-manifest that manifests itself in all there is — and that mysterious Presence whom Jesus calls Abba, Father?