This morning a wise woman told a story of Buddha. It was about how arrows coming at him turned into flowers. I found the imagery compelling.

So then I was with friends crossing Sixth Avenue in Manhattan and spotted a white flower lying in the street. I picked it up. It was a carnation made of cloth, a wee bit tattered and worn.

“If you clean it up, it will be beautiful,” my friend said.

“It already is,” I replied. He understood my meaning.

We were approaching Times Square. I looked up and saw a towering billboard of a woman in her 90s. It was bracing, this frank photo of aging in all its glory. I glanced at the copy under the image and saw that it touted a website — — and was sponsored by Dove. What a gorgeous message.

I cupped my flower in my hand and looked at it again, wondering from which arrow it had saved me.