Turn Towards The Light
A few months ago, I took my trowel out in the yard and dug up a patch of sweet violets. I planted them in a glass candy dish lined with river rocks. Just to see what would happen.
They’re hanging in there, even sprouting a new leaf or two every so often. The house is far too dark to coax blooms out of much anything, save a Christmas cactus and my grandma’s African violet. Still, I am amazed that the magic didn’t run out when I stole them from the ground. I water them a few times a week, and every time, I rotate the dish roughly ninety degrees to keep the growth even.
Plants turn towards the light. This phenomenon is called tropism, from the Greek trope; to turn. It actually occurs on a cellular level; growth hormone floods the dark cells of the plant and elongates them. The shaded side of the plant grows faster and pulls the stems and leaves towards the light.
At the very base of its existence, the plant understands that it is fueled by the sun. It seeks that nourishment shamelessly and instinctively, stretching and turning towards a better life and a better view.
Which is why I find it startlingly amusing that we are considered the intelligent life form.
Even the most shade-tolerant people need light to live and grow, but we take the gift of free will and use it to wire our branches into the darkness. The human brain hates an unsolved puzzle; we stare at the ceiling in the pre-dawn twilight and work emotional rubix cubes, twisting and shifting and thinking, hating the damn thing but unable to throw it out or give it away. We writhe and stir with regret, doubt, shame, hurt and confusion.
For some it is a dangerous cycle of destruction- they began to seek darkness and shun light. So shamed by a lack of blooms that they forsake the one thing that would correct the fault.
The rest of us just forget to let our shadows fall behind us and unfurl our leaves in the sunshine. We need a periodic reminder to commit our time, energy and effort to the people, experiences and places that bring us joy, inspiration and contentment.
Consider this yours.
Turn towards the light.