Know any “late bloomers”? Or have you named yourself that, in some aspect of your life? Many of us could lay claim to blooming late in something, as life is rarely lived moving forward in a straight line, all parts of ourselves in sync and equally developed. (Though many of us tick off milestones as if it were, comparing our progress with other people. Say, like our college friends). And those stages of life that psychologists often talk about have blurry edges and indistinct ages. The path is more spiral than highway.
Perhaps you have heard “late bloomer” used as a polite discount to describe someone who doesn’t seem to be meeting expectations for his or her age or tenure in a job. I’ve also heard it used to reassure young people who seem to lag behind in cultural expectations of grace, beauty, athleticism or popularity---“You’re just a late bloomer, don’t worry.” Or maybe you’ve heard it used with surprise and respect when someone’s career takes off, when everyone else thought it never would. “Late bloomer.”
I admit to ignorance about most things botanical. So I never recognized the truth and beauty of the late bloomer until recently.
The rose season was just past its prime as my friend and I walked through the Botanic Gardens. We came upon a cluster of white rose bushes, full of blooms only the week before. Now the ground was littered with brown petals and remaining blooms were opened flat, faded. But there were stand-out spots of brilliant white, perfectly shaped, velvety fresh petals. Late blooming roses. Suddenly I got it. Just as I had begun to mourn the passage of the season, the surprise of the bright new growth pulled me into the present.
Are you a late bloomer? In your career or fulfillment of dreams? In creativity, love, joy or spiritual growth? Ah, what a gift, what a great start to the summer.