Hardy Opportunists

The light is starting to shift, even if the heat here in the Southeast is just as sticky as ever. The golden hour of the year has arrived, and so has goldenrod. It’s soft flower brushed my arms a few days ago as I biked through the fullness of a Spring and Summer’s worth of growth, seeming to reclaim a local trail and remind us bikers and hikers that we are simply passing through.

In reading up a bit on the plant, I learned that it is a first sign of life in the forest after a fire, which reminded me of fireweed, a plant somewhat new to me and seen throughout the end of my recent Western travels. Brilliant in color, it jumps to life and soaks up the newly available sunshine after a fire has cleared the canopy.

Both flowers are hardy opportunists. They explode across a meadow or along a roadside where they can access sunlight; they are not timid with their growth, but rather exuberant in their expression.

I wonder in what ways I can emulate these brilliantly colored plants. The goldenrod and fireweed find certain conditions, and then they GO FOR IT!

Where are the places that provide the best opportunity for me to grow, to be my full-self? And allow me to clarify, I don’t just mean which job, relationship, community … I also mean in what aspects of my current job, relationship, community, etc. As a therapist, I do my best work when using experiential modalities, not psychoanalysis… As a friend I offer the most when I approach with vulnerable curiosity, not when making assumptions… and in my community I feel the most connected when taking turns with giving and receiving, not by avoiding the opportunity to ask for help.

And when I do the hard work to create or find the right conditions and opportunities, in what ways can I unabashadly express myself? Both of these flowers don’t just put out one blossom, they cover the stem and the hillside. Timidity falls away. There’s only this one sweet season for these flowers to do their work, to soak up sunshine and contribute to the interconnected health of the forest. How can I do the same?