Contributed by J. Greenwood
Geraniums are my favourite plant – I love that rich, earthy smell and those brilliant flowers, but it is the heartiness of the geranium that makes it so exceptional to me. While orchids, lilies, and pansies win on design, I swear I can kill them by looking at them wrong. Geraniums are resilient. I can let them scorch in the sun or soak in the rain, sit them for days without being watered, pot and repot… and it doesn’t matter: those thick earthy leaves can handle almost anything.
When my mom first saw my collection of potted geraniums, she advised that the hearty leaves would thrive even more if I intentionally went through and picked off the dead leaves and flowers. Her demonstration left behind a plant that was sparse and dead-looking. It seemed improbable that the pathetic stub of green would come back.
Skeptical, I put her theory to the test, picking a geranium from my collection and snapping off the dead and dying branches. And, sure enough, mom was right: the leaves grew fuller and greener, and the blossoms became much more plentiful.
I see glimmers of myself in my favourite flower: ordinary, but vibrant and strong. From the plant world, I have learned that my beautiful parts will grow stronger and fuller if I am brave enough to let go of my dead pieces. This is scary because there is no real guarantee that the bare plant will re-grow, and sometimes it feels better to have dead branches and flowers than none at all.
When we let go of our dead pieces, we may mourn their departure and feel the enormous weight of their loss when we are left standing naked and pathetic like a plucked geranium. Yet with time the product of all these painful changes is often very rich and beautiful. All we can do is respond with joy in the everyday, remembering the past, but keeping our hearts open to the endless possibilities of new growth.