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Petal Pushers

It has been a long, cold winter here, which makes us welcome spring with great enthusiasm. We anxiously await the warm temperatures, having missed the sun on our faces. We long to shed our heavy coats and sweaters for shorts and flip flops. It is an annual ritual, one most of us joyfully anticipate. And yes, perhaps this changing season in particular is a metaphor for life. We don’t realize the value in something until we lose it, even temporarily. And that makes the rediscovery all the more sweet.

Years ago, when we built our home, there was no landscaping whatsoever and the task of coaxing the Georgia red clay into becoming a suitable planting environment was a real challenge. I had a few hostas that I had brought with me in pots from our previous home, and I set to work transplanting them here and there. On a whim, I even threw a couple of inches of soil on the patio around the fountain and stuck a couple of tubers into the dirt. I had no expectations of their survival: after all, I was expecting them to grow on concrete. But they thrived, growing larger each year under the least favorable conditions. Their resilience never fails to amaze me.

As so, it has been thrilling to watch the hostas break through the cool earth, their familiar stubs and lime green leaves assuring me that they are still alive, having survived the brutal snow and relentless low temperatures. They unfurl their giant leaves as if to say, “See? Your thumb is not as brown as you imagined it to be.” It is a comforting thought.

Like the hostas, sometimes our true beauty is temporarily buried as we hide away from the world, trying to fix what is broken within us, concealing who we are truly meant to be. Perhaps we need this time of dormancy, to rest, to gather the strength needed for the next phase of our life in whatever form that might take. And then, through sheer fortitude, a true act of courage we didn’t know we had, we emerge in all of our glory to rejoin the human race.

It really isn’t such a far-fetched analogy.

Much like the cycle of the seasons, we feel pain, then recover; we hide, then rediscover; we fall down, then get up; we hold tightly, then, let go. And sometimes, we stray from who we are, but then, we return, which is a time for rejoicing.

It is ironic that I find myself reclaiming my life at this special time of year when the earth once more awakens from its lengthy winter nap. For a very long time, I could only concentrate on managing the illness that took so much from me. But now, I am filled with hope as I reimagine my tomorrows, days I never thought I would have. I must admit that it is a little intimidating since I feel much like a caged bird who has suddenly been given its freedom. There is a big blue open sky to explore, a nest to be built. But where do I fly? What shall I do next? These are questions I intend to answer in the months ahead.

In the meantime, I bought a big bag of caladiums. There is something about their colorful, variegated leaves that I find so lovely. And as I face the task of planting forty bulbs, I am reminded of the optimism that such an act of faith involves, the promise that each one holds. I am confident that by mid-summer, I will be rewarded with a riot of color and beauty. And I, too, hope to bloom and blossom as I embrace the possibilities of life. I hope you do, too.

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