July 29, 2017
I can't believe I could forget such a thing as the goldenrod. To forget that she even exists. To whack through the plants in the far pasture, in search of thistle, and taking down what I thought was invasive purple loosetrife in the process. Those tall, long, lanky bodies. It didn't even dawn on me that the goldenrod was still emerging. Still only stems and foliage. Still in the process of becoming.
It wasn't until walking the dog this week, noticing a weedy patch in a neighbors yard, growing a crown atop a spindly leafing base. Oh, is that...goldenrod? I forget that just because the purple cone flowers and rudbekia and asters are among us, that not all the flowers of the cycle are with us yet. And so, as it begins to take a shape that I recognize, beyond the feel of goldenrod yearning inside my heart, I am able to see it again.
It is, compared to all its flora friend, a late bloomer. I am a late bloomer. You may, very well, be a late bloomer too. The purples are popping and producing cones and the milkweeds are already forming pods and the alfalfa has flowered weeks ago. The American Germander loos exhausted. The cool weather grasses are just catching their breath after all this heat. They already are. These things already are. In the meanwhile, the goldenrods are sturdying their perennial energy and standing tall and coming to be in this world. At their own pace. Behind the rest of the pack.
But, of course, the goldenrod is what gets us through. Its flowers, when they come in August and September (and if we're lucky lingering into October), mirror the rich hues of late afternoon light. The last flowers of the year, standing like beacons, sentinels of color and sustenance, watching over and protecting the wild grapes and the blackcaps and yarrows and canary grass as the cycle back into dormancy. Preparing for the winter, and the year ahead. These last fireworks, lighting the path, the sky, forward as the days noticeably shorten and I pull my green cardigan off the shelf for the first time.
This moment is not here yet. The goldenrod's flowers, some stiff, some showy, some dense, some waving in the wind, are not here yet either. But the goldenrods are here, becoming, nascent - just not in the form of easy recognition. Of familiarity.
I cringe to think how many of those growing stalks I accidentally cut down in the far pasture. Out of lack of recognition. Because they did not look how I expected them to. Because I did not recognize them.
And isn't the always the case? Cutting down our own best, showiest, most colorful, brightest ideas because we don't recognize them for what they are? Because we don't allow sufficient time for them to grow and bloom?