The Will to Flower


I call this the twin life of nature. Or the metaphorical drama of quotidian life.  Or more simply, open your eyes and look.

Multiple blooms on the aloe
Multiple blooms on the aloe

At the start of June, I noticed a potted succulent had sprouted a four-foot stem with a spray of yellow blooms. This was a wow!, stop-me-in-my-mindless tracks vision. The scene was exotic and personally rare. Never before had I been witness to an aloe blooming.

The plant itself was a survivor, something I rescued from the yard of an abandoned home. For some years, I’d been watching it as it rested in a battered plastic pot at the base of an oak, neglected, shriveled and yet persistently alive. I knew it would be mine. When at last the tenant was gone, I took it. I gave it a new clay pot home with new loamy soil. I doused it with Miracle Gro, and every few days, sprayed it with the water hose. Then, I left it to its own devices.

Now some months later, the aloe has soared to a state of fervent living. Its leaves are engorged. The entire plant has tilted in a clockwise manner, burdened by the weight of its own opulence. And these blooms! Sprays of promising yellow surging upward, damning the elements, damning the years of disregard, pushing, pushing upward in this elevated display of life, this grand resurgence.

It is good to walk about in your own backyard. It is a good thing to open your eyes, to watch your surroundings. It is a mighty good thing to witness the reservoir of energy within an abandoned aloe, its natural tenacity, the will to flower, the bloom of rebirth.

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