Blossoming Hands

By Patrick Phillips:

That sweet soft scent from an apple tree in bloom is a smell of profound amazement. The garden in which I am stood, is not my own but once a peasant’s. It is not a garden of dreams but a garden from a single dream landscape. The apple tree, placed within this designed and ordered garden, has presented to me that the tree itself is from outside the garden; here is not exactly where it intrinsically belongs. The apple tree and I live in that dream – together. Not a place to escape but a place of real beauty. Hence in any dream, beauty can only be provoked from imagination. How can anyone ignore the beauty of Nature? Yesterday looking through a book of paintings by Van Gogh, I remembered Blossoming Pear Tree. I noticed that from a distance when looking at the painting, it gave the impression of church bells, petals jingling. It could be heard as well as seen. As though the image itself was vibrating before me, alive.

Then walking slowly on the green grass in bare foot, I notice the distance I have yet to travel before I arrive at the tree. I am surrounded by a creative atmosphere that continues to animate around this ethereal apple tree. Scents, colours, sunlight; the whole space creates a sense of harmony.

Stood now in front of the tree, its light has become intensified. I appear to be almost touching light. At every moment I feel as though I am dissolving, quietly forgetting myself and the world I was once in. Tiny flies and birds are flying almost everywhere; everything that moves from what the eye can see is visible. I can smell scents that have no name. Scent truly makes one appreciate the intricate moments that are in place in life for us to enjoy. 

Then pulling my hand from out of my pocket, still enjoying the tickling blades of grass from beneath my feet, I start to reach out my arm to pull a small branch in flower towards me.

Whilst looking… I’m moving my entire body, arm, hand and then gently my fingers, as they begin to open and receive.

The apple flower is now touching my nose; its petals are tickling my nostrils. Then beginning to smell, I close my eye lids gently. In the act of smelling, we instinctively want to experience the isolation between our visual world to that of smell. In the act of closing our eyes, darkness creates a kind of forgetfulness – a moment’s respite from looking. This moment of smelling and not looking created our reciprocal approach between thought and feeling. We lapse into our senses. By isolating our senses in the mind, we begin to live within the sensations of our imagination. For many humans closing their eyes, when in the act of smelling a flower has become a natural act. However, for some it is still an act of Romanticism. Therefore because this is seen as being romantic, it cannot constitute anything about reality; for them it does not exist. Mystery is inexplicable. Once isolated, sensation becomes everything.

Breathing in slowly, through my nostrils and into my lungs, the scent of the flower is now present. I am now not only feeling the sensation of scent but I am experiencing it. The mind instantly tries to process and present to us – what is it I’m smelling? We can never name the smell, only describe it. Immediately at that point in which my eyes are closed, I am travelling… somewhere within, and yet outside myself. Where? I don’t know. As though the flowers stigma has sucked you into an eternal and intimate space, a kind of sanctuary. I wish I could encapsulate this sweet scent, so that every time I slept or awoke I could experience the sensation that life is eternal again and again.


Apple tree is related to the rosacea family.


When in the act of smelling a flower, this fusion of scent and imagination represents not only the sensation that life is eternal but death.


And so it appears,

that to die actually is a pleasant experience.

Words & Illustration by Patrick Phillips

Patrick Phillips is a revolutionary writer, lyricist, humanist and artist based in Edinburgh. He successfully wrote in 2015 the lyrics for the song Man Of The Mountains for a new musical Out Of Place at the York New Musical Festival. His first non-fiction book about a lawyer, who started his own circus more than thirty years ago, will be published in 2018.  @PatrickWriter