It is March 19, 2020; I am four days into social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Life has been turned completely upside down. Most of us try to follow the new curve-flattening rules to protect ourselves and everyone else. But already, I yearn to go back to “normal,” assuming that the old normal will ever exist again.
We can’t sleep, we stress eat, we have trouble concentrating. We either watch the news obsessively, or we avoid it all together. And we haven’t even gotten to the hard part yet.
I don’t know anyone who has been diagnosed… or been hospitalized… or died. Do you? I hear a siren coming down my street and wonder, is it here? Has the virus arrived in my world?
But no, the siren fades into the distance. I take several deep breaths. I find my sleeping kittens and stroke their soft, warm bodies until they purr and I begin to calm.
Then I get on the computer and begin scrolling down this blog. I smile as I relive the joys that came with a quiet, sweet, normal life. And I have an idea. What if I were to revisit some of my old posts? Ones that I liked when I wrote them, but also ones that might take on new significance today.
Wanna go on a memory trip with me?
If you’re in, let’s start with a post from the fall of 2013. When I wrote it, I liked its simplicity, and I liked the lesson that I learned from one lowly flower. Today, I like it because it gives me hope that I might use this time of isolation to continue learning and to grow in a new direction.
Bloom Where You Are Planted
All summer long, a planter full of petunias and vinca vines sat on my patio. It was pretty for months, but as we got deeper into October, the plants grew long and scraggly and unattractive. Then they were nipped by frost.
And so, a few days ago, I decided it was time to let them go. I slid the planter away from the outside wall of my home and lifted it to carry over to our garden to dump the soil. As I was leaving, something caught my eye.
At first, I thought a flower had broken off when I moved the pot. But a closer look told another story. Some time during the summer, a single white petunia had leapt from the planter—or possibly had been seeded from another. However it happened, there is a healthy plant growing in the narrow crack between my patio and the wall.
This flower isn’t just surviving. It is blooming its heart out. And keeping it company is a single green vinca.
I find myself appreciating this late bloomer much more than I did the planter. Maybe it’s because my white petunia is an unexpected, late-season gift. Or maybe I admire its hardiness, as it thrives in harsh conditions.
Now, every morning, one of the first things I do is check on the petunia. So far, it has always been all right. Of course, I realize it’s only a matter of time until winter conditions overtake it. I will miss its cheerful greeting as I come and go. And I will miss its example of how to bloom wherever you are planted, even in the most unlikely of places.