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.
Thanks for brightening my day. This helps us all to cope. Bill and I are still able to play golf because we have our own golf cart, but our clubhouse is closed. We are cleaning closets, reading, taking long walks, and watching a few good movies on Netflix. You are a gifted writer and I love every word. Be well!
I resemble everything Marcia said. You indeed are a gifted writer. This post is sweet. Thanks for making me think of flowers. On the Canadian prairie we are a long ways from flower pots and petunias!
Thank you for your encouraging words, Arlene. Here in Northern Illinois, I have daffodils and tulips coming up, but we are a long way from petunias in full bloom.
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As your petunia thrived under harsh conditions, so will we thrive through this virus situation. Thankfully we live in an era of technology that gives us so many communication options so we can stay connected. We all will celebrate when the world is back in full bloom and thriving like the petunia’s. Until then, lets all set our clocks everyday for 2pm.. At that time lets stop what we are doing and pray for healing and an end to this virus. There is strength in numbers.
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