Updated: May 14, 2020
I was born in darkness, a small drop fallen from high above. Germinating, cultivating, cracking, splitting open roots deep enough to withstand a spring frost. My beauty is admired greatly by people. They use me in weddings, parties, and even decorate their homes with me. But sometimes I think to myself, “They don’t even know what I weathered to become their ornamentation; their holiday decoration thrown away when I’m past my prime.” Surely I am meant for more than the petals I blossom. What is so fleeting cannot be the peak of my offering. Do I not hold more lessons in the story of blooming? In the process of becoming? Have we not grown weary of beauty simply being frivolous in meaning, beyond what is immediately pleasing to the eye?
It gets wearisome growing in the dark. I understand why people try to run from it. Instead, choosing to fill their life with inconsequential experiences aimed at easing the inevitable hardship which often accompanies the melody of growth. I mean, can you imagine the process of being born under the earth, only to push your way to the very thing you need most? But the dark isn’t all bad. In my most fragile state, it provided shelter from harsh winters and hungry creatures looking for their own sustenance and survival. I learned a lot from growing in darkness. It’s not as scary as people may think.
Anyway- the sun never felt so brilliant as the day when I first poked out of the ground, glimpsing the glory of the world. It’s The closest I’ll ever be to my roots while still beholding the world enveloped by light. I see a lot from the ground. The intricacies of life unfold right before me. I make friends with the heavy dew on cool spring mornings. Burdensome at first, its cool kiss strengthens my veins for the coming summer heat. Spring's growth springs forth all around me. Flowers from tree buds fall gently beside me. They’ve done their part and now make way for new life in the fluorescent green leaves of the aspens. The vast expanse of sky greets me as though I’m small but vital to my new home above.
However, nothing could have prepared me for my first spring frost. A battle of will, I close my leaves to the chilly western wind, as it blows in misty clouds to settle in the valley. Mountain vistas are no longer visible, hidden by an army of grey. That’s the thing about storms. On a clear day, I can see the world bigger than myself. I have perspective. But when a storm settles in, hiding the tall trees and rolling valleys, when all I see is grey- I know a world lies beyond myself, but I can’t see it. I wish people knew I too have faced great hardship. For what are our sorrows for if not to comfort others as well? Even in the swelling storm and blustery winds, I still find hope. What wonder lies in a snowflake from my perspective! Settling on my leaves and permeating the surrounding ground, it covers us with its cold finger tips. Glistening crystals frozen in extravagant designs fall from the sky in seeming chaos reminding me, if we look at our pain closely- we still find beauty. The next morning, when the storm has cleared and the sun breaks through, the whole world is glistening in the most brilliant array of diamonds crystalized to every branch, every blade of grass- and to me. A beauty I would never have been betrothed to had it not been for the storm. It’s as if the world is saying, “See? Even in what’s hard and hurtful, a better world is waiting. Don’t lose hope.”
The world warms and I shake off the final grasps of winter. I look down lovingly at my friends who are just sprouting, knowing the work they’ve gone through and the storms they’ll endure. Although not the same as mine, even summer cannot be a world of eternal sunshine all the time. As I bloom and grow, people to notice me as they walk by. They often underestimate the role I get to play in this world. To the grieving mother, she sees my petals and remembers hope grows from the dirt in our lives. To the curious child, I give a petal as they play and wonder just a little too clumsily. I don’t mind. We’re meant to give pieces of ourselves to each other. To the happy couple, they see me and say, “Oh! Look at that color! Maybe it can go in our bouquet!” They bring their nose close and breath in my fragrance. I suppose I don’t always have the luxury of personal space. To the wandering soul, I remind them they’re not alone. Even if no one else sees them- I am here, growing right beside them. Sometimes that’s all you need, to know you’re not alone in this life
So you see, if I end up on tables as staple center pieces, admired and then retired, that’s okay. I see many moments in homes as well. Perhaps I provide comfort in a different way. However, I can’t help but feel my bright moment on the stage of Easter dinner is not inherently more valuable than my growth underground- one is just more visible. Which brings me back to the question of beauty. I am more than the petals with which I am adorned, for what Sprit lies within the very blooms they had to break out of. Perhaps, we are to be reminded true beauty never comes without deep struggle. While the delicacy of frivolously indulgent joy, delight, and celebration make this world feel light, easy, and on some days just even doable, the process of blooming from darkness, from deep roots cultivated by struggle and growth, also have their place in the realm of beauty. Neither one without the other.