I love when a flower matches its name, the way that birds of paradise so clearly bloom into extraordinary flowers. I think sometimes I choose to travel to California for work just to see them in bloom. The photo above was taken in downtown Los Angeles – they grow so easily there, even among the densely packed concrete buildings and people and cars.

Maybe because of the name, the flowers always remind me of lost loved ones – relatives and mentors and friends. A few days ago, I lost a colleague – one who I admired. And one loss always seems to remind me of others I have admired or loved and lost. People who lived colorful lives, who had energy and vitality, and whose memory persists vividly, even among the clutter of the day to day of my life now. I’m so grateful for the way the memory of those loved ones – even when I really miss them – continue to add vibrancy and joy to the world around me. They are forever the birds of paradise of my life.