Late April in the southern Appalachians can only be properly described as magical. The hills are teeming with life; my early azalea is dripping with fuchsia blooms, the dogwoods pepper the new canopy with bits of waxy white and baby pink, my purple iris buds are unfurling as I type. Three walnut trees that shade my farm cottage converge into a sea of leaves and blooms some twenty feet off the ground; in the late afternoon the low hum of pollination serenades me.
All of this beauty and activity is more than fascinating enough without the attending implications. Perhaps it is too easy to forget that the intricate blossoms and their visitors are doing the most important work of the year; a timeless waltz designed to bear fruit that assures strong progeny in coming years. Cross-pollination is such a dry way to describe the transport of magic dust- the secret of plant life- by winged creatures that dance on flower petals and turn nectar into honey.
Neither the bees nor the flowers know the sting of self-consciousness. They aren’t aware enough to develop the pride and independence that fosters an unrealistic standard that some of us possess. They would never expect to make honey without nectar or fruit without the pollen of other nearby specimens. After all, the bumblebee has no idea that it isn’t built to spec for flying. The lucky things buzz around all day long, defying the laws of physics and proving the laws of nature at the same time.
Which is probably why it is also strikingly easy to forget that ideas, much like flowers, need their own magic dust to bear fruit. When our own goals seem elusive we trap our blooms under glass in fear and shame, and cringe when our supporters inquire about our endeavors. The pollen of collaboration, inspiration and camaraderie assures their survival, yet our tendency is to withhold just when it is most needed. When our dreams are unfurled in the stunning beauty of full bloom, we judge them as inferior because they’ve not yet borne fruit.
They are only fruitless if we keep them under the glass!
If we summon the humility and courage to give them a good spot out in the open and keep them well-tended, the magic dust will find them. Fruit will slowly push the blossoms from their stems to ripen and sweeten in the summer sun. With time and patience, the harvest will come and next year’s seeds will scatter in the soil.
The blossoms beget the fruit just as the fruit beget the blossoms, if only we can learn to value them equally.