Spring is beginning to arrive in earnest here in Northern New England. The crocus have already bloomed and faded in our front yard. The flowers of these small perennials, while vibrant and colorful, last but a short time. For the remainder of the growing season they are not much to look at, just a few green shafts waving in the fertile earth. Next will come the daffodils and tulips which are larger by degree and equally beautiful. Their flowers are also short lived, though their stems and roots remain steadfast and continue to be part of the landscape. Another early bloomer is the bleeding heart plant. Once the soil warms up it can grow surprisingly quickly, adding an inch or more to its height as it spreads out and flowers. It produces lovely heart-shaped flowers on arching stems. But as a herbaceous perennial, the bleeding heart dies back as the heat of summer arrives. Part of the plant survives under or close to the ground until the next growing season. Every flower or plant has their own unique time to bloom and a different longevity of their display. And in a way it is the same for people.
People flower or bloom, each on their own schedule. I’m sure you have heard of child prodigies who are born with a gift for intellectual prowess. They are far head of others their own age, some heading off to college before their contemporaries start junior high school. In a completely different scenario, people gifted with attractiveness often learn early that they can count on that attribute to ease their paths to adulthood and beyond as our culture continues to hold physical beauty as something to be celebrated. For most of the rest of us, we muddle through puberty trying to figure out where we fit into the circle of life. I certainly was no child prodigy (though I did skip the second grade) and my looks have always been just average at best. I was always a year younger than my classmates and blissfully unaware of my social awkwardness in high school. I did well in class and had plenty of friends, but I was always a bit out of step. I never used make-up like my girlfriends and wore clothes for their comfort and utility without regard to style. I had a lot of male friends, but none ever asked me out and to be honest, I don’t remember being bothered by that.
After graduation, I attended the junior college near my home and lived in my childhood home for one year. It was during that time that I came to understand that if I was going to grow and become what I wanted to be as an adult I would need to leave my comfort zone. I got an apartment in the city with a friend and eventually enrolled at Fresno State and later the University of Oregon where I earned my masters degree. It was during this time at university that I began to really bloom. I had my first dates and my first boyfriend, although I wasn’t ready to commit to a long term relationship. I wanted to see what life had in store for me. It didn’t take long for me to find out. I hadn’t been out of college six months when my older brother died in a motorcycle accident. That was another turning point. It made me realize that life as we know it is finite. I soon took job that again forced me out of my comfort zone and that is where I met my husband Don. It wasn’t love at first sight, but when we connected, I knew that he loved me for who I was. And the great thing is he still does. I may have been a late bloomer, but all these years later that doesn’t seem to have mattered one bit. It was all just part of the wonderful journey that is life.