This is a story about plants. Kind of.
In my backyard are three bougainvillea bushes that I planted at the start of COVID to bring some beauty into my backyard. For those of you who don’t have the luxury of living in a tropical climate, “bougis” as they are often called, usually have beautiful, brightly colored flowers that grow rapidly in all directions and bloom prolifically all year long.
These plants brought me so much joy over the summer during quarantine, watching them blossom into sprawling, blooming bushes.
Until 2 months ago.
Two months ago, my biggest and most prolifically blooming bougi suddenly started losing ALL its leaves and blooms. In the span of just a few days, it went completely bald and looked to be dying. The other two bushes didn’t look to be too far behind.
I was, of course, having a little inner panic, wanting to “fix” this and bring my presumably dying bushes back to life. Like a proactive mama, I called the company who treats our plants to come out and take a look (this is sadly a requirement in Tampa if you value plants and grass). They came out to treat and protect.
“The roots are still good,” they said.
Still, no improvement.
Looking at other bougis in the neighborhood, they all seemed to be thriving. Blooming and growing, with all of their leaves still fully attached. It seemed that only mine were affected.
As it turns out, there are things we can learn from plants.
In this instance, what has come to mind so vividly, is that like plants, we must sometimes shed who we have been to become more of who we are.
My plants are making a comeback. Slowly.
As we enter spring, I can see tiny little leaves shooting off the plants and a few hints of hot pink flowers starting to emerge. My gut says that these plants are going to come back stronger, healthier, and more vibrant than before.
I don’t know a lot about biology and the science behind why these plants needed to shed everything they displayed to the outside world. But what I do know, is that sometimes, to grow into who we are called to be, we must cast aside everything that we were and go down to our roots. Then we can fully embrace who we are.
Sometimes, to grow into who we are called to be, we must cast aside everything that we were and go down to our roots.