The Magic of Life

Papaver Somniferum or East Mediterranean poppy (Photo: David Powdrell)

I am reminded of late that there is unimaginable beauty in life, but that sometimes the beauty is brief. In the blink of an eye, it is gone.

Case in point, the Papaver Somniferum or East Mediterranean poppy, whose four foot tall stalks struggle hard to stand erect against strong south winds coming off the ocean.

But when they bloom, their bold reds and dusty purples shout with excitement, “Come see me, come see me! Photograph me!”

The bees dance, crawl through and drink up the pollen. They’re in heaven.

Then, in a mere 4 to 6 days, they’re gone. The petals have fallen to the ground, leaving only an alien-like pod shell, full of seeds to dry and prepare for next year’s bloom.

The life-cycle of the poppy is over. It was a brutally short life, but it was an incredible ride. The dry seeds will fall to the ground and next year an even grander display of life will unfold. Oh, the mystery and magic of life.

We lost our son a few weeks ago. It was a rare and aggressive cancer. He knew my happy place was in the garden and among my poppies, my garlic and my fruit trees.

It hurts that he is gone. It happened so fast.

But Keenan continues to remind me every day, “You got this, dad. You got this. Go to your happy place.”

We’re so grateful for the 39 years we had with Keenan. Though his time was short, his memories and his love continue to bloom within us, within his 4-year-old son, Henry, and within his wife, Samantha. Keenan’s spirit remains alive and we are grateful. He was a gift, but my heart still hurts something fierce.

Thanks for listening. Art has become my therapy these days.

– David Powdrell

David Powdrell

Written by David Powdrell

David Powdrell is a Carpinteria resident, photographer, and C.P.A. He often shares his photos and musings with edhat readers. See more of his photos at

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  1. Thank you, David Powdrell, for sharing your lovely photographs – I particularly liked the one of the bee in the poppy – and your loving words about your son and your family. Sometimes the most beautiful flowers are short-lived but they live in our memories and your photographs.

  2. Thank you Dave for your beautiful photographs of poppies in your special garden & happy place. So very sorry for your loss . Hope you find some healing and comfort with your grandson, family and your art.

  3. Dave; thank you for sharing your “art therapy” with us. It’s always great with the wording aligned with the photographs. After verifying my “download” from the RC 2024 post, I was reminded of another gem I’d saved & labeled “henry artwork” (you called it “edhat_5_4”) gleaning that from here:
    I guess what I’m trying to express is how much I feel, YOU are appreciated here.
    Never hesitate to “Go to your happy place.” !

    • Thank you for the reminder to my previous “Special Wednesdays with Henry” Edhat article. Our son, Keenan, was my original participant and looking back on it now, I’m so incredibly grateful that we have those memories of studying fine art, zoo days, beach days, and so much more. Thanks for the reminder.

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