Late Bloom

clematis and me

As I left my house a few mornings ago, I noticed one trailing vine of clematis, fallen across my path. The other blossoms on my plant had long since withered, but this vine bore thick, velvety, flowers – late arrival beauties.

My garden is teaching me about life. I can only water it in early morning or late evening, away from the busy hum of the bees and the beating pressure-cooker of the sun.

My garden wafts a sweet peace in the quiet, still hours – the posture I crave, yet forgo so often in favor of efficiency. I want to surrender my task list to the beauty of stillness again. My garden does it daily.

I’m still relatively new at this gardening thing. I…always…forget to fertilize. Similarly, in my artistic “regimen,” I keep thinking I can grow without nourishment. I guess I just think I’m strong enough…like a plant is strong enough to grow without water and sunlight? Yeah. It’s a good metaphor.

Toward summer’s end, the flowers dwindle and still my garden needs water. Even when the colorful glory has left the stage. Even when it looks like nothing is happening.

My garden’s teaching me that life has seasons and, at the end of a long hot spell, I might need an extra layer of nutrients to replenish what was consumed in high summer energy.

I’m watching my late-blooming clematis, letting it tell me there’s no need to rush. Beauty can and will blossom late, and a garden is meant to be cherished and cared for whether it’s at rest or in bloom.

Do you garden? Has it taught you anything about life? Are you remembering to fertilize? Any tips on life-fertilization you want to share?

About Elise

Elise Stephens began her career in writing at age six, illustrating her own story books and concocting wild adventures. Stephens counts authors Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and Margaret Atwood among her literary mentors, and has studied under Orson Scott Card. She dreams often of finding new ways to weave timeless truths into her stories. Her novels include Moonlight and Oranges (2011), Forecast (2013), and Guardian of the Gold Breathers (2015), a finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year. She lives in Seattle with her family. Follow her on Twitter @elisestephens and Author Elise Stephens on Facebook.

Comments

Late Bloom — 4 Comments

  1. I tend not to garden any more (my wife and daughter do that now), but I do fertilize my life with long walks in the woods and time to read. We learn more about ourselves when we can sit quietly (or walk) than any other time. Reading is just fun.

    • Terry, I think that learning to sit or walk quietly takes more discipline than I realized. I’m making plans to sit and read quietly this afternoon. Thank you!

  2. Beautiful post, Elise. Many times I feel like I have to keep doing and doing and doing, when in actuality I need to let the soil sit and rejuvenate. This quote sums it up beautifully for me: “Work is not always required. There is such a thing as a sacred idleness, the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected.” (Nineteenth-century poet and author George MacDonald)

    • Oh my goodness Debbie, I am reading George MacDonald right now….that’s the book I was planning to read this afternoon that I’d mentioned to Terry! This can’t be coincidence! Thank you! This post is going up on my wall.

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