Friday, May 6, 2011

To Bloom or not to Bloom.......

And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom. - Anais Nin
I love this quote. It has been following me around for the last couple of years, appearing regularly here and there. It was in the forward of a book I read, it was sent to me by my astrologer, it echoed in my memory as I bought myself a silver ring in the shape of a fully blossoming rose last summer. A few years ago, when I lived in Vancouver, I purchased a couple of botanical prints at a yard sale. I was not familiar with the flowers that had been masterfully painted by an artist named L. Noble. I would later learn she was quite famous for her botanical art and that had they been originals, I would have hit pay dirt, however, they were prints and I just liked them. One was the Pink Fawn Lily and the other was a yellow Trout Lily. I had never seen either of these at the time in real life, but when I moved to Toronto, lo and behold, there were some Trout Lilies growing in the little woodland garden in my own back yard. I was surprised how small they were, how delicate, how perfect. They come and go early in the spring here, so if you are not observant, you will miss them. They grow like weeds on the forest floor and they are in full bloom right now all along the Humber River trail that I walk at least a couple times per week. As I walked the trail earlier today, I took such joy at the many carpets of them that I saw along the way on the forested parts of the trail. I took an especially close look at them today and it occurred to me that not every plant produced a flower. Not unlike humans I thought. There they all were - masses of them, all reaching for the sun before the tree leaves arrive and block the light for the summer. It made me wonder why some were able to blossom while others could not. They all had the same environment. The soil feeding them was the same. The moisture levels were identical. And yet, only some were reaching their full potential. Only some were fulfilling their destiny, their purpose in life. How like humans indeed. And then I took it a step further and wondered if the non-bloomers were content with their lot in life, or like humans, were they frustrated that they could not bloom? Did they wonder what life might hold for them outside the forest floor? Did they seek answers for their inability to flourish? Or was it enough for them to just survive? Was living there amongst the bloomers OK with them? Were they envious of the beautiful blooms around them? Did they wish they could be more like them? Or, did they just sit back and accept their position amongst the bloomers? Perhaps the safety and security of just being alive in the crowd was enough to satisfy them. So it would seem. The truth is, the frail Trout Lily would not survive outside the cool and shady forest floor. They are in the forest for a reason. That is their home, the only place they can grow. Which begs the question, if humans were to allow nature to take its course, allow their destiny to unfold as it should, would we be more content? Would it create an inner peace inside us? Would we stop struggling, stop trying to swim upstream, slow down, stop beating ourselves up, stop trying so hard to reach that level of perfection? Just be the plant. Or, if you're lucky, the flower. Ahhhh, if it were only that simple. I envy those who are content to be the plant. The non-blooming Trout Lily that dares to try and grow outside the forest takes a huge risk. I imagine few even try. And it would surely be next to impossible to thrive elsewhere without the helping hand of a human. That would make it possible. The correct environment could be re-created, the soil conditions duplicated, the careful monitoring of moisture - all of it could be provided. But it's not natural. It takes work. It takes commitment. It takes desire. Only brave and courageous Trout Lilies could make it. Frightened or cowardly plants would stay behind in the forest. Which plant are you?

No comments: