Several flowering plants form new blooms from the dead wood of a previous season’s cycle. Next to our screened-in porch is one such plant—a dwarf, lime hydrangea which we planted two years ago. Since I have yet to move my stationary bike out to the elements and continue to ride in the dry of the porch, I have been watching this shrub for several weeks and it has, like all plants, taught me a lesson.
Although the browned and dead flowers from last summer are not attractive, Mary Ann prefers to leave them attached to the stems even though they could be snipped off. Thus, as I have been riding each morning, I sort of wished that she had removed the unsightly, spent blooms. However, I now understand that her decision has helped me see the cycle of nature.
The lime hydrangea does what it is designed to do. It grows by feeding from the past cycles of its life. As I look each morning at the brown and dead blooms, I also can see small, green leaves emerging on the stems that hold those dead blooms. Soon those small green leaves will be in full splendor and new, deliciously lime colored blooms will emerge. The old will be gone, and the new celebrated. Soon.
Living under self-quarantine because of the COVID-19 virus, I think of the lime hydrangea and its gaining the new from the old. So often in our belief that we, mere humans, are in control because of our 401k’s, our superhighways with fast cars, our 10,000 square foot houses, and more, we lose our way. We lose sight of how frail we really are- think of the TB sanitariums of the 1930’s, and other examples besides this virus which is just beginning for us.
Yet if we accept the fact that we need to come together and “be our brother’s keeper”, we will continue. Like the simple plant that makes new by using all its parts and history, we need to band, to do what is best for the tribe, not any individual. This is not the time to think individually, but the time to think together. And when we think of the tribe, we each will give up some things or many things. So be it. To bloom again. Gloriously.