Yanking the wheelbarrow full of pinecones and sweet gum balls to a stop, I adjusted my aim before I dumped it into the bank of garden debris. Right in the middle of the pile I’d made of prunings, weeds, and dead flowers, a daffodil poked up its royal yellow head.
As one who sees herself in Shakespeare’s quote from As You Like It and
“Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything,”
I knew there was an analogy here.
I skipped the cliché of “Bloom where you are planted” since the likelihood that this bulb was planted hardly existed. Most likely, it had come in a previous wheelbarrow load, accidentally pulled up with some weeds on a previous spring.
Instead, I thought of children living in circumstances much like that mess of rubbish. I saw them too often in my classroom, but like that daffodil, they were determined to bloom no matter what. Their rubbish might be dealing with poverty, a dysfunctional family, substance abuse, or parents who cared but spent so much energy trying to make ends meet there was little left for their children. I called those determined children “survivors.”
In a perfect world, all children would add their own beauty to a mixture like an English country garden – larkspurs, daffodils, roses, ornamental grasses, forget-me-nots. They would have adequate sunshine and water and admiration for their beauty. This is not a perfect world.
In this imperfection, I also thought of those who adjust the aim of their wheelbarrows so they don’t add to the debris and those who take the time to clear the biggest area possible for those children to bloom and grow or who find a way to transplant the bulb to a better place – the teachers, social workers, foster and adoptive parents, and those who just know how to be a friend.
If you’ve adjusted your wheelbarrow for a child or children who needed you, even if it was just to ply them with milk and cookies, this blog and this daffodil is for you. Thanks!