Green shoots! I see fresh green shoots! They’re waking up! The amaryllis bulbs, that is. The pot came up from the basement at solstice, and has been sitting near a window ever since. Several years ago, I got this particular amaryllis as a holiday gift from my cousin. It started as three potted bulbs that bloomed all together in one glorious display of color that first year.
Of course, that is by design. I have no idea what sort of threats or coercion on the part of the bulb company were necessary to convince these three to bloom exactly in sync, but whatever the company did, it worked. After the show was over, and the droopy flowers were fading fast, I decided to try to keep them for another year. The ever-reliable internet told me it wasn’t so hard. Let the foliage grow through the summer, then put the plant away for a dormant time in the fall. It sounded easy enough, so I gave it a go, and I’ve been at it ever since.
Every winter, for at least five years now, I’ve been treated to gorgeous blooms. The bulbs have even divided themselves, producing offspring that will someday flower as well. The only real change has been the timing. The bulbs have each settled into a unique rhythm. They bloom one at a time now, content to follow their own timetable, their own inner wisdom, not the least bit worried about comparing themselves to each other. Trust me when I say that the “late bloomer” is every bit as gorgeous and treasured as the first flower.
Forcing bulbs to flower on an artificial timetable is stressful. Seriously! Many bulbs that are “forced” don’t survive to bloom a second time. The effort of blooming on a timetable other than their own simply takes too much energy, and they die. Or they take years to recover, sending out only green leaves at first until they recover their energy and find their own inner clock.
Our culture has its own forced timetable: grow up, college, career, family, climb that corporate ladder, make the big bucks- all in one nice, neat sequence. If we don’t have it all figured out by age X, something is wrong. If we’re thrown off schedule, all is lost. Or so we’re told.
The truth is that we’re so much better off when we grow and blossom at our own pace, on our own timetable. We might not fit into our dysfunctional culture’s mold, but who cares? Maybe the mold needs to be shattered anyway.
I expect my amaryllis bulbs to keep on going for many years to come, going about their business, listening to the inner promptings that say grow, bloom, leaf out, sleep…and grow again.
For now, the first green shoots are starting to show. Every day they’ll grow noticably taller. It’s an exciting time in the flower pot, and I’m thrilled to be able to watch.
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Photo Credit: flickr user Muffet at www.creativecommons.org