The bush is stark and drab at the moment and yet there are splashes of the most intense colour exploding off of a few different tree species scattered around Londolozi. I found myself so inspired by this process. How incredible is it that a plant not only survives through a period of drought, but conserves enough resources and stills itself enough that at just the moment it needs to, it bursts into bloom? I started off by writing about the storage systems of its roots, the xylem mechanism trees use and what cambium means. But, to be honest, it completely stripped the joy from the blog for me. So instead, today, I’m taking a completely different route.
These trees have shown me one of the greatest universal truths: that you will have periods of your life where conditions are not ideal. You’ll be denied life-giving rain, the soils in which you’re growing may become sapped of nutrients and the winds of change will howl. Maybe you’re just too tired to do anything but hang on. When I look around at nature, I see that instead of fighting this, it understands that these moments are ok. A current epidemic in our society is the idea that you are not enough, that you need more, that you should be doing more, that you should be constantly pushing and expanding. What nature shows, though, is that the dips are just as important as the rises. A tree must die back in the winter, lose its leaves, wilt and become stark. It is in these moments that it cuts away what is no longer necessary, clearing away that which no longer serves it before it can flourish again in the spring.
All the while, underground, where no one can see it, the tree is preparing itself, conserving its resources and gathering strength for its greatest moment: the bloom. Flowers are the reproductive organs of trees. They have to bear flowers or they will perish. It is their ultimate act of creativity because it is from here that they reproduce. Without this moment of stillness, the tree would not only perish but no new life would come from or be sustained by it either. For humans, a moment of stillness such as this would seem selfish, or maybe even embarrassing. But in this instance, this moment of quiet re-grouping allows the tree to bloom and serve so many more than just itself.
Trusting this process will allow you to rest when you most need it. It will give you the kindness to appreciate where you’re at, and the stillness to be able to recognize that when the time is right you’ll be prepared for the bloom.
When you give yourself this moment of kindness and grace, you tend to realize just how well you’re doing, how lucky you are and how supported you’ve been. That despite the highs and lows of the everyday, on the whole you’re on the up.
And so, as the seasons change, instead of looking forward and forcing ourselves to set goals or create added pressures to our lives, I encourage you to just take a moment to appreciate where you’ve come from, where you’re at and how enough this exact moment is, because I can promise you that the blossom of gratitude is by far the most beautiful.