California Poppies

Lately it seems like making “positive choices” is not moving the needle in any direction whatsoever…and when that happens for me, I start to question if my choices are worth the effort. Choices like buying organic (it can be more painful for my wallet), or choices like walking at least 3 miles a day (not exactly sore muscles, but I don’t see a difference in muscle definition or tone), choices like actively finding educational books to read to expand my mind (it takes more “work” than reading pop culture magazines). None of these things are bad.  I don’t regret choices to read something that expands my understanding and challenges my assumptions or to fuel my body with food that I know is more healthy.

Today I was reminded that sometimes even when we can’t see a difference being made every day, doesn’t mean work, growth, or change isn’t happening.  I’m talking about the poppies in my yard. I have always thought of myself as being a notorious black thumb; once I almost killed a cactus because I didn’t water it enough. I have felt for a long time that plants see me coming and immediately commit suicide as an easier means to death than to suffer my nurture. My neighbors, on the other hand, are naturals; if they just think about planting it in their amazing yard, the plants thrive. Inspired by their success, (albiet slightly intimidated), last summer, I planted a dozen seed packets around the yard, near the walkways, in patches by the fence, in the healthy unused outside my front door.  I figured that if something grew, I could be delighted, and if nothing grew, no one would know that I’d attempted, and therefore, couldn’t give me a hard time about the short life span of plants at my house.

To my delight and surprise, the poppies grew around my flagstone walk, but there weren’t any flowers, just the green plants.  That was ok, I’d managed to grow plants, and in my mind, that was a win right there! The season turned and winter came to Colorado; everything died amid the snow and cold. Then a month or so ago, little sprouts started to appear around the flagstone walk, and I was once again delighted to see that my poppies were going to come back. Next door, the neighbors’ poppies were in full bloom, and mine were still just the straggly plants, but they were getting bigger.  Yesterday, it was all fronds.  Today, there was a flower.  Just one flower, but it was a flower, and in my mind it was perfect!  All the work, the patience, the care, the watering, the sun, the consistency….it paid off.  Today there was a flower.  And next door is a promise of many more to come. Consistency in life – there is a payoff, and it’s worthwhile.  This is what healthy living looks like.

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