Booker, in the midst of an exuberant puppy leap, tackled a milkweed plant. The plant’s pod, which had been swaying in the breeze, burst open and released its fluffy down-like seeds to the world. Booker pounced again, took a bite, and shook his head in a killing frenzy. When he lifted his face it looked like he had a white Santa Claus beard hanging from his jaw. That got me thinking about expectations. Sometimes we think we know what we’re doing, what to expect, and how things are going to play out, but that’s not how it ends up. Personally, I prefer it that way.
Speaking of milkweed, one year I took a nature walk and built a bouquet of dried native plants. My goal was a dried floral arrangement for fall décor. After Thanksgiving I put the arrangement in a small bedroom and pulled out the Christmas ornaments. In other words, I pretty much forgot about the dried arrangement. The following spring I went into the bedroom to get something or other and discovered the room was filled with milkweed fluff. It was everywhere! I inspected the arrangement, which I had believed to be dried and contained, and saw that the pods had opened, somehow, and released their seed. There was a powerful lesson in that mess.
I had the arrogance to think I had stopped the flow of nature. I believed if I cut the plant before it finished its life cycle, I would preserve it in the state I desired. Ha! Even though the plant was dead, dried, and dusty, when spring arrived the pods opened—as usual– to send out seeds for new life. Never call a milkweed plant a quitter! Think about it. How many times do we give up when circumstances seem difficult, or when we feel forgotten? Maybe we should take a cue from the lowly milkweed and quietly reach our potential. There is still life inside of us just waiting for a chance to grow.