When, at the tower of Babel, God scattered the languages of the world, “so that they may not understand one another’s speech,” (Genesis 11:7) He, in His great mercy, left us some universal languages.
I think of music that crosses cultures and generations. Bach and Handel may not have spoken English, but they spoke a language I do understand and love.
I think of art. Pictures painted on ceiling of chapels or canvasses, large and small, speak and touch and move me, though I know not a word in the native tongue of the painter.
And I think of flowers — a language God Himself uses to speak to us in their beauty and simplicity.
Flowers may have been the language my mother understood best. She worked tirelessly in her gardens, weeding, tending, making them beautiful for all to enjoy. Inside the house there was always something blooming — poinsettias, Christmas cactus, amaryllis, the crown of thorns, Easter lilies, mums. She understood the language of the flowers and plants, and they understood her and responded.
So when I read this quote by Shel Silverstein, I thought of her.
Once I spoke the language of the flowers,
Once I understood each word the caterpillar said,
Once I smiled in secret at the gossip of the starlings,
And shared a conversation with the housefly in my bed.
Once I heard and answered all the questions of the crickets,
And joined the crying of each falling dying flake of snow,
Once I spoke the language of the flowers. . . .
How did it go?
How did it go?
Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends
Oh, Alzheimer’s — did you have to take that as well?