Outside my kitchen window on this chilly December day is a coral-colored rosebud stubbornly clinging to the top of an otherwise barren bush. I have been watching this little bud for several weeks now, speculating as to when it would succumb to the inevitable and reflecting on the lesson of this almost flower for myself.
I wonder at its timidity in keeping closed in on itself, holding itself tightly, afraid to open up and share itself. Did it not get something that it needed to bloom? Was it missing adequate light or love? Surely, it didn't fear that its beauty would be rejected or ignored, that its sisters would outshine it. Perhaps it believed that it came too late to the feast and felt unable to participate, left on the outside looking in.
I marvel at its tenacity, holding on through rain, wind and chill, never letting go of its tenuous hold on life. Unfulfilled and yet more long lived than its cohorts, keeping a tight grip on possibility long after its season of hope.
How many of us are like this little bud at one time or another? Fearful of showing our core, we hold ourselves tightly closed with only the barest hint of our sweetness escaping. Perhaps, when first we tried to bloom, the air was chilled with rejection. Maybe our roots were not nourished with the warm mulch of love. Or we were pruned back too severely by convention and expectation. And yet we cling to the hope of possibility that we have not, in fact, missed our blooming.
But, unlike this rosebud, we do not fall after a season. We have the possibility to nurture ourselves during the fallow times, to aerate our roots, trim back the dead and open ourselves up to the possibility of blooming again in the spring. We have multiple seasons. And, as I notice my own growing and changing, and that of others around me, I feel a little less chilled by the sight of this tiny, unfinished flower. I can continue to dig around my roots, add new components and hope for an even more lush blooming with the change of a new year.
Certainly it is riskier, this always becoming. Next season may produce not even a bud for all the effort. It could, in fact, kill off the entire bush. But the possibility of expansive growth seems to be worth the risk. It is necessary to trim off the bud of lost hopes in order to cultivate the potential for what may yet be.
".... and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." -Anais Nin.
Teacher Voices: Stewart Matthews - Here's another post in my continuing series on teacher voices. I'm interviewing some of my former students who have gone on to become teachers. In this po...
5 days ago