a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

Flowers (Sunday Setup 4/21/13)

< by Jill >

If April showers bring May flowers, then May is going to be a sniffly month for people with allergies. It’s rained for more than seven consecutive days here in Chicago, causing the ground to saturate, flood, and sink — a street on the south side collapsed, swallowing three cars in one bite.

Last year at this time, the magnolia buds had unfurled and cherry blossoms had popped, clothing naked branches in floral print. I walked down the street with my nose up, catching the scent of primroses and lilacs and other yawning greenery.

I’ve always wondered how the flowers know when to pop. Who sets the alarm that wakes up the tulips? Who whispers to the roses when it’s time to unfold? Science can detect some of these cues, but the great synchronization of microscopic and cosmic forces ranks among my favorite mysteries.

That’s why I stand in awe of flowers — they embody the promise that something pure and beautiful can emerge from something hopelessly complex. I can’t explain why Minnesota is buried in snow. I can’t explain why Chicago is standing in puddles. But I do know this:

The seeds and bulbs are waiting. They’re waiting to be nudged or nodded or cheered along; they’re waiting for one more sip of water or one more day of sunshine. They’re shaking off the slumber and adjusting to the light, stockpiling chlorophyll and forming petals.  When they get the cue, they’ll surface — not meekly, but boldly, unshaken in their knowledge that the sun will shine, the air will warm, and we’ll delight in their presence.

Spring is coming — and all week, we’re nudging it along with flower stories.

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