Bloom Where You’re Planted

          What are the conditions we humans need to blossom?  To me, it seems as if there should be many blossoming moments in our lives, when the conditions are right for us to burst from our tight buds and become our best beautiful selves. And so it is in the garden.

Maria Rodale

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I suppose we try to bloom where we wish we were planted or we  hoped to grow. So we struggle. We find ourselves in situations which are not where we want to grow.

Wouldn’t every thing in our lives be brighter, sweeter, and more fun if we chose to be content? If we decided to take what opportunities and circumstances we were dealt in life and make the best of it? And if we went beyond that even to bloom awesomely where noone expected us to thrive?

If we would bloom even in the hard places, the dry days, the harsh conditions, we could bring happiness there to ourselves and to others. Then there would be blossoms in alleys, in ditches, in sidewalk cracks, even on rooftops and in isolated spots. In those places where nothing good can be, there would be us, there would be me, glowing with vitality and beauty and all the world would be brighter and the world would grow larger too.

I have found flowers growing in watery drainage ditches, in dry spots beside the highway, in crevices in rocks, on eroded hillsides, in pastures where animals graze, in weed-chocked meadows, in among old rusted vehicles in junkyards, in overworked fields, in the woods, in the sand along a shore, on top of trash heaps, in manicured closely-mown lawns, in hot dry dessert places, on worn pathways, beside concrete parking lots.

Life goes on even in the restricted and untended places. Better it should go on in joy.

We all come to those places:  jobs we don’t enjoy, unhappy marriages, costly homes, houses in disrepair, difficult family members, nonprogressive schools, untenable neighborhoods, dreadful diagnoses, or other situations where nothing should grow—much less bloom. I want to face off with those spots and come out the best beautiful bloom possible.

To do so I will need God’s grace and God’s help. Because what seed can grow without a hand to plant it and soil and light and rain? And what flower can bloom without God’s blessing?

 

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Barefoot in the Prairie Grasses

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Coneflower Prairie Squaredance

8f23a-rose27spicnic005ee201-pecanorchard07603feb-peachesandflowersfield08886167-rose27spicnic003Impressions of an Old Farm

Pink Prairie Posies

Taming the Wild Prairie

Little Rose Bush on the Prairie

Rock Creek Buffalo Ranch

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Summer Life on the Farm

Summer–the season of growing–the season when everything renewed with spring finds time to settle in and push down roots. Have I ever stopped to note the miracle that the seasons are perfectly arranged with the birthing, growing, maturing, and aging, death and birth cycle of our own lives?

The trees put on rapid new growth, leaves and limbs surge out and upward reaching for the hot blue sky. Leaves wave at the birds that fly over their heads or nest in their branches.

Summer is flowers blooming from the buds of spring and with the warm days and the bumblebees. Of bud vases and old glass salt cellars of roses lining the kitchen windowsill. Of crockery pitchers, milk bottles, and other odd vases of wildflower bouquets from the pasture and the roadside.

It’s thunderstorms crashing and romping and stomping and fading to rumbly-bumbly steady feeding rains that let you float in fluttery half-sleep places of lemon-poppyseed-bread dreams.

Summer is horses grazing in shady spots in wide sunny pastures, their tails flicking constantly at pesky flies. It is porch swing sitting after a swim. It is the scent of mud, as strong but not as pleasing as the soil turned up with tilling and planting the spring garden.

The squish of mud between your toes is a special delight that my plants seem to love as warm days have settled their roots and stems safety in. They are like five-year-olds that discover food is good after all and start devouring nutrients that they refused earlier. Suddenly the grass the trees, the shrubs, the plants, peonies, roses, and hydrangeas, the things that you thought would never grow take off like rockets.

Summer is crickets chirping, full moons, fireflies blinking in the dark, starry, starry nights and warm quiet mornings–stiller than dusty old churches on weekdays.

That’s summer with its longer hours of sunshine, with heat and evening rains. How I love the sounds of tree frogs singing in the wetter places by the willows where the pasture slopes down to the creek and those lazy afternoons when cicadas in the oak tree whine and drone on and on in a rising and falling pattern like a piano student practicing his scales.

Planted By Water: The swollen muddy Mississippi River dressed in poppies

Traveling in Louisiana, I visited the Mississippi River at Vidalia. I went down along the banks under the two wonderful bridges that run side-by-side like sisters holding hands and skipping between Louisiana and Mississippi. How different the river looked from that perspective! Trees stood up to their hips in the flood water and I watched as a batch of lemony leaf-boats left their roots and floated downstream––free at last.

Crossing the bridge there, where the waterway flows more than a mile wide, I drove up into the hills. The view from the bluffs made me draw a deep satisfying breath. The air was sweet as iced tea. It spread in all diections and the sun met it and reflected the sky in the current. Moving from the bluffs to under them on the Natchez side, I came to a street partly submerged with sawhorses blocking off the flooded parts. A narrow waterside walking park was almost under too.

On the berm along the water’s edge, poppies swayed as the muddy waters passed by. The scalloped petals waved for attention like flags boasting the reds and oranges of a summer sunset. They seemed not to grasp the peril they faced: would the flood take them too? Would their soft-as-tissue-paper-in-birthday-gift-bags petals follow the fallen leaves in their quest for adventure?

The red blooms recalled the day each year of my childhood when veterans in uniform stood on downtown corners and beside dime store entryways passing out paper poppies in memory of soldiers lost in the wars. Every man in town sported one tucked in his buttonhole or shirt pocket. Dad was a vet, so he always had extras for us. I kept mine till they grew ragged.

I pulled off my sandals then and dipped my toes in the river––just so I could brag back home that I had. The water surprised me; I expected it would run ice bucket cold, but it was the temperature and color of leftover cappuccino found in a car on a chilly evening.

Just at the river’s brink, my legs sensed movement of the ground with the washing, lapping rhythm of the flood tide and I quickly retreated, yet the slender twisty stems of the poppies and the seed pods with their little crowns and the pink tips of buds still waiting in line to burst from backstage to star in the show, were not afraid of the water’s powers.

I watched a tugboat push a barge ten times its own length under both spans of the bridge and heard it’s warning horn bellow like an angry bull. Cars crossed the bridge high above the river in both directions. Their drivers hurried to work, to school, to church, home, to stores, to meetings, the mall, the movies, or to a lunch with friends. They paid no mind to the tug and barge, nor to the poppies waving greetings from the watery bank––nor to me.