Friday, December 5, 2008

How do you grow?

There's a bougainvillea growing in my backyard. As spring has revived it the new growth has become so prolific that I can barely get our door open! Carefully weaving our way through the thorn-studded new branches has become something of an obstacle course. ;-P This is our third (and final) spring/summer in this flat and although it grows rapidly and gets pruned back several times a year, I've never seen it quite so determined to grow up the side of the house. It even sent shoots right up through the gutter and now part of our roof is in full bloom!

While contemplating how to tame the beast so the property owner doesn't send someone to rip it out of the yard (she's already threatened to once because she doesn't want to pay someone to prune it twice a year, plant hating bitch) I found my mind wandering back to a conversation I had with a good friend the other day. We were talking about growth and how the places we live and the friends we keep influence our progress (or lack thereof) to a point. Both of us have left behind family and more familiar places for experiences in a world far different from the one we first met in. While thinking of mutual friends still back in that area we wondered, did we change because we left? or did we leave because we needed the change and knew we wouldn't find it if we stayed there?

We've all heard the saying "You've gotta bloom where you're planted!" and for most of my life I have tried to take that sentiment to heart and grow even when I feel like I'm stuck in a place not nurturing me in the way I need. But I think perhaps that phrase is not always accurate. Granted, at times we do need to strive to bloom where we find ourselves, however I can think of instances when I needed more than just encouragement to keep my chin up--I needed to be transplanted to a whole new garden!

So how do we know when to bloom where we're planted versus hoping for a transplant? What about people we know who are stagnant in the environment they find themselves in? When do they (and we) realise you've "...gotta go where you can grow!" as my friend said?

The answer I think comes when we remember that each one of us is a different plant.

Some of us are like hybrid tea roses that need delicately balanced environments in order to flourish or else we suffer from stunted growth and rarely bloom, failing to reach our full potential because we never had the nourishment we needed to do so.

Others are potted plants that live comfortably within the confines of their pot, slowly growing as they go indoors and outdoors, according to the seasons and what suits them best. They may not have the most spectacular growth, but they keep at a steady pace and generally mind their own business, soaking up food and water as they're given and every once in a while they get an upgrade to a bigger pot!

Me? I'm the crazy bougainvillea climbing the side of our flat, bright fuchsia flowers spilling all over the place! Planted in a less than ideal spot I tend to send out feeler shoots that weave their way near and far, looking for solid support. Once I find some I grab on and end up places I'd never dreamed, drinking in sunlight to spur on my growth. At times I get cut back for whatever reason and feel discouraged, but once I've had time to regroup I start all over again (often times stubbornly doing the same thing as before *snort*). Not one to stay in one place, I seem to maintain quite a broad existence as I constantly seek out the things I need to continue to grow--even if it means taking on the roof!

So how do you grow?


DinerGirl said...

What a lovely metaphor, and apt. Makes me think about places I've lived and been and thrived and failed. I'm one of those people that gets a 7-year itch and needs to go elsewhere for a blank slate, if at all possible. So I think I'm a ficus tree that definitely needs replanting every so often when its root system gets too big! That's how we grow here in SJ.... :-)

Tiara said...

I love ficus trees! They have wicked roots that when planted in the ground grow fast, far, and are near impossible to uproot. You wouldn't happen to have a stubborn streak now would you? ;-P

I think we constantly cycle through living, dying, and giving birth to our new selves as we go through life.

Growing up we rarely lived in a place more than 3 years 'cause my dad was in the military. So I get the 3 year itch and to hold it off I rearrange the house obsessively! LOL

Jackie said...
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