Last spring I planted flowers. I was depressed over the one year anniversary of Innocent’s death, I was still freshly grieving for Andrew, I was disheartened over our inability to conceive again. I wanted to do something positive. So I planted flowers.
There are two beds in front of our house, one on either side of the steps to the porch. One side gets very little sun, the other side, way too much. I tried to choose flowers to suit the conditions and planted seeds. On the sunny side I had some success. (That’s also the side where I plant orphaned plants. They seem to do well as soon as I stop paying attention to them.) We had some flowers but not too many. The shady side was a total bust. Later in the summer I gave up and got some hostas. The ferns next to the steps did well as they always do in that shady, damp spot.
I have a black thumb. Very little that I plant grows. You can blame it on the soil (and the soil isn’t great, to be sure), but for some reason I just don’t have that “touch”. It must have skipped a generation because my mother is wonderful with plants as her mother was before her. With the soil as seemingly infertile as I was it was a depressing situation.
This spring Flopsy asked if I were going to plant any more flowers. I like flowers, but I don’t like being reminded of failure, so I put her off. I pointed out how almost nothing we had planted last year had grown. With the optimism of youth she wanted to try again but I was jaded. I tried to take pleasure in the few green things returning in the front beds: the lemon grass, the elephant ears, the banana plants, the salvia, the ginger. The ferns were resurrecting.
Then one day, I saw something pink on the shady side. I bent down to look. Merciful heavens, a flower? I didn’t even recognize it. I went back the next day but it appeared that the neighbor children had picked it. Shoot. The next week there was another one. They picked it too. (Note: by this time I was getting rather annoyed.) I stopped looking because I was so busy with Holy Week and getting ready for Pascha.
Then the other day I stood out in front of the steps. Flowers! All kinds! And interestingly enough, there were NONE on the sunny side.
I realized these were all the flowers I had planted last year that had never come up. Every last one. There are more every day.
Why? Why hadn’t they come up last year when I desperately wanted them to? When I needed some signs of life? Some signs that I wasn’t a total failure?
I guess like babies, flowers come up when God wants them to. Like the flowers, the baby is growing. Tomorrow I’ll be 14 weeks and there’s still a strong heartbeat there every morning. I don’t know why the flowers and the baby are here now when I was trying so hard to grow them last year, but this is one of God’s mysteries.
The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. [Song of Solomon, 2:12]