In this two-part story which spans several years, Gail Fillion tells the tale of a daisy plant and its varying cycles—and what it has shown her and taught her about life.
Several years ago, a plant was brought home to brighten the back deck. It was not yet in bloom but it had lush green foliage and the florist had said it was a daisy plant. (I knew very little about plants myself.) Looking forward to having a pot of bright daisies in time, I waited. As the weeks went by, the plant seemed to thrive, but no blooms appeared. Perhaps it would bloom when the weather cooled a bit in the Fall. Perhaps the florist had mistakenly identified it? Perhaps it wasn’t a flowering plant at all? As the days shortened and the weather grew increasingly cool, the leaves began to turn brown and die. The plant had had its season. It was tucked away under the deck and, for a time, forgotten.
That winter was a cold and a stormy one, with lots of snow. It wasn’t until the Spring that I noticed that the plant, which had been buried under the snow and forgotten, had begun to sprout new leaves. I was amazed. Evidently this plant was a perennial and not an annual as I had assumed. No matter that it had appeared dead, no matter the harsh weather conditions, it had continued to sustain an inner life of its own, unbeknownst to me.
So I cleared off the snow still clinging to some of its branches, and returned it to the top of the deck where I watched its steady growth from my kitchen door. Eventually it was as green and as lush as it had ever been. I still thought of it as “the daisy plant” although it never flowered. In late Fall when the leaves turned brown and began to wither, it was placed, once again, under the deck, in the hopes it would survive as it had before.
And it did. As Spring gave way to Summer, and Summer gave way to early Fall, the plant gave birth to and offered its bright green foliage for all the world to see. Soon the season would end, and it would be time to tuck away the plant under the deck in the hopes it would make it once again.
Then it happened. As most of the leaves began turning yellow, then brown, with some falling off, at the end of one, still-green stalk, a bud appeared. Just the one. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Over the next few days as the bud developed, a tip of white appeared. Now I can see petals thrusting upwards in their attempt to emerge. As I write this it is mid-October and the nights are growing colder. I don’t yet know if it will be able to bloom before the frost takes its toll. But one thing I know for certain. It is, indeed, a daisy plant. And it has been, all along.
It's been two years now since I wrote the words above. And yes, to my personal delight and its creational design, that daisy bud did bloom. It happened to bloom on my birthday, but that of course was just serendipity. Nature works in ways and according to laws that are far above my or anyone's personal delights or calendars. (Thank goodness.)
Last year, however, and despite my hopes and expectations, the plant did not flower.
This year, it bloomed again for the second time. Again, a single daisy flower unfurled from a single green bud. I knew it would not last for more than a week or two and so I made a point to look at, study and admire it often – not knowing if it would be the last one in the life cycle of the daisy plant, which itself has been in decline.
Now one could say that the cycles of this plant have been erratic—and perhaps this is true from what has been seen on the outside. But bloom or not, it has all gone on according to natural law-which is the only way that anything natural grows (or withers). When conditions are right, certain things can happen. If certain things do not happen, it's simply because the conditions were not right for one reason or another. The daisy plant itself has never given up. Noticed or not, flowering or not, it is and has always been living at full thrust. It hasn't ever taken a day off. It has been taking in moisture and sunlight and other nutrients to the best of its ability. It has withstood the stresses of extremes in temperature and rainfall. It has always been aiming at fulfilling its design purpose. It has no choice but to do so.
This plant has not only inspired me, it has caused me to think.
I, too (as do you), live according to stages and cycles. We, too, have creational design and purpose according to natural law. There are stresses in each of our lives to push through and to overcome.
Like the daisy plant has done, we can strive to live at full thrust through all of our cycles, despite changing conditions, whether or not we are noticed and whether or not we can yet know if we will attain the point of our own flowering. For we, unlike the daisy plant or other forms of life on this planet, have been given the supreme gift of choice. We can grow or we can wither depending on the choices we make.
Life itself flows through our veins. Constant. Recurring. Enduring. Perennial. For as long as we live.
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