A friend and I have been doing some writing together, working from prompts that we each use as jumping off points for wherever they lead us. Usually I find that my writing fairly logically follows from the prompt. Sometimes, though, my brain takes an interesting detour that in the end often speaks to the prompt in an unexpected way. This is one such piece, where I let my pen follow my train of thought as it veered unexpectedly to some musings on nature. At first I thought I had missed the prompt, but later realized I ended up with a reflection that I think will help me evaluate how I might respond to the inevitable pressures of life and our culture.
The prompt was “What do I NOT want to change about my life?”
What do I not want to change about my life? There is very little I would want to change. I don’t want to change my solitude-loving, quiet observer nature. I prefer to blend into the background, though I will speak up when necessary. I guess I would ideally be a trout lily or a Chickadee.
The trout lily doesn’t advertise her presence with large, showy blossoms, but she adds subtle beauty to the forest floor. She’s easily overlooked and, alas, sometimes trampled, but if you pause to look, she has intricate blossoms and subtly distinctive leaves. Categorized as a “spring ephemeral,” she is here briefly, then appears to be gone, while in reality her life is hidden in the rich soil wherein she dwells beside a creek.
The Chickadee is much more bold and perennially present, but nonetheless is subtle rather than showy, not bright in color like the Cardinal or pushy like the Wren. She is cheerful and willing to trust when trust has been earned, but nearly always yields her ground when conflict comes, retreating to a safe shrub or tree until peace returns. Hardy, she perseveres through heat and cold, singing her cheerful notes, despite cloud or rain or snow. The Chickadee is also a curious creature, investigating, learning, and remembering.
What do I not want to change about my life?
The trout lily blooms in early spring, then is soon overshadowed by the leaves of the trees, but she will bloom again when her season comes, once again enriching the forest with her subtle beauty. The Chickadee, pert and friendly, delights in life and shares her joy, not outstanding in size or color or song, but adding her grace notes to the chorus of birds throughout the seasons.