Watching Plants Grow

…is not as boring as you might think.

Now that the weather has hovered slightly higher than freezing for a few days, I’m going to call it: it’s springtime. The sunshine, the light breezes, the soft earth, the green grass; it is here to stay. Which is why we can all take off our mittens and gloves and start to flex our green thumb. What will it be this year? Pansies? Petunias? Portulaca? All of them, if need be!

This winter has been especially hard, so I am especially excited to plant something, but my mom and I always feel this way. My fondest memories are of planting tulip bulbs with her, naming every one so that they would have a better chance at growing. Then when we brought home our Stella, the night-blooming cereus, from my favorite professor, we felt that we had been given the crowning jewel of our garden.

So, why do I love flowers so much? Because they are a lesson in optimism.

Why? Well, have you ever watched a flower grow?

The progress it makes. The heights it reaches. The happiness it provides for others.

But the best part?

How it unyieldingly reaches toward the sun.

Because you can put a flower in a dark room with only the tiniest sliver, the most meager portion of sunlight. And somehow, some way, it has bent completely over backwards to make sure that it is in the path of those rays. Time after time, I have watched my mother’s plants stretch their new shoots toward the sun. So much so that she would have to turn them around so that they would even out, so that they did not become top-heavy from stretching too far to one side.

Now, I know that you are probably already like a flower in many ways. I’m sure you are beautiful. I’m sure you are self-sufficient. I’m sure you have roots. But do you go out of your way to live in the sunshine? Do you do everything you can to make sure that you have what you need to thrive? Do you try to lean into the light even when the darkness surrounds you?

If you don’t, plant a flower this springtime. Let it be your daily reminder. And if you need a serious push, try a cactus. Despite their prickly exterior, they need the most light of all and the least amount of care. (And if you don’t think that’s the best metaphor ever for people in general, then you can leaf.)

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