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No flower stays pristine forever.

The flower isn’t the goal at all. When I observed Taynylei Plant-ery grow squash over the summer, the flowers were the precursor.

While they were pretty, the goal was for them to attract pollinators to get to fruit (in this case vegetables) to produce. The flower then withers and falls off during this time. The beauty of the bloom is only temporary.

There’s a meme that circulates that says, “when someone falls in love with your flowers and not your roots, they don’t know what to do when winter comes.” It's true, both from a relational and non-relational outlook. I've attempted many hobbies and many business ventures, both paid and unpaid. I'm very creative and ambitious, so even when a venture wasn't for me, I'd at least be able to manage initially. After some time, though, I'd quit and want to put my energy towards something more beneficial and fulfilling to me. Now that I'm truly settling into my niche and am finding contentment at my job, I realize that if you don't feel you have a purpose in what you do, you won't choose to see the beauty in every aspect of it. Life is not a series of wins and feel-good stories. It is also riddled with hard times. If you don't find a home in your hobbies, business ventures, work, etc. then when the "hard" comes, it will be tough to push through.

I started my pollinator garden in July of this year. I didn't get consistent action from butterflies, bees, and the like until around September sometime. Before then, I was only seeing the same Skippers – a butterfly/moth hybrid – again and again. If I hadn't already developed a love of observing plants grow from seed, experimenting, and failing and I was ONLY there to try to see butterflies, perhaps I would've given up sooner and not nurtured my garden to its fullest potential. Most people are unaware, but before the irrigation system at Esther Gallow Community Garden was adjusted to cover more space, the positioning of my garden plot only allowed the sprinklers to reach half the box. The front of the box where my most precious plants were (Milkweed, Lantana, Marigolds, etc.) all had to be hand-watered by me. Through intense summer heat and all, I showed up consistently to see my garden box through every hiccup and it paid off!

A lot of people love and see butterflies here and there, but don’t realize how often they fly by because they aren’t looking for them. I’ve had encounters where I’ll be in conversation and point out one someone didn’t notice flying right by us. It's the same with people and things we experience. We pass by some extraordinary people every day and witness extraordinary things, but maybe because they come in a package we aren’t expecting, we miss them. Maybe we aren’t keen on the way they look or act, so we write them off. I’m not condemning. We all have our biases as people and we all use filters to determine what is important to us. If we don't make an effort to see even the "smallest" people in society, we miss so many bright souls. My challenge today though, is just as you would change your perspective to spot a butterfly, realize that some people are outliers to what we think makes the perfect person.

“There’s beauty in everything, just not everyone sees it.” -Unknown

I don’t know if you’ve ever observed a flower grow from seed but it's a magnificent thing. There are so many phases.

And then...that flower has to die.

It has to.

Plants only have so much energy, just like us, just like analyzers in the medical laboratory. Analyzers, although they are running 24-7 just like we are alive 24-7, they too have shut-down times, maintenances, etc. Nothing in nature constantly produces non-stop. There are off-seasons for a reason. Even before you get to an offseason, though, for a plant to grow wider, taller, and make MORE flowers, older ones have to die. That energy is better spent elsewhere.

I want to encourage you today that if life doesn't look exactly how you expect right now, and if you feel stagnant, overlooked, and like you're not producing, that it's okay. Don't fight the off-season. There's a lot that can be done while you're waiting to bloom again. This is the time to rest. Time to heal. Time to grow. Time to rethink, recreate, and reimagine. This is the time to fall in love with your roots, again. If you don't nurture those, you won't bloom to your fullest potential. Besides, it's what hidden that often holds the most value.

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