The Wisdom of Tulips
A friend of mine recently announced the beginning of Spring on her Facebook page with a post of a tulip. She lives in New York City. It’s been a hard, harsh winter. The promise that the flowering tulip brought her was worth sharing with the world. Earth awakening and winter retreating brings delight to everyone in the Northeast.
Recently I was given a pot of tulips beginning to bloom. It was flabbergasting how quickly they grew and how much water they needed in order to grow at that pace. Overnight they would grow an inch. Each day the stems would grow taller and the petals longer. They were regal and stunning. As I was watching the tulips on my window sill, my intrigue led me to a tulip farm — a farm of over a million tulips.
Tulips prefer to show off the sides of their petals, rather than open up wide like a rose. They don’t last for a full season like marigolds, just a week or two. Their colors are not muted like hydrangeas but brilliant. They don’t bloom from last years bush but from a bulb. And when they are finished showing off their glorious beauty, they simply release their petals. One day they stand tall, the next their stems stand naked, petals on the ground.
There is nothing about the tulip that resembles the daisy, the rose, or the periwinkle and yet we enjoy them just as much. We recognize that they are different and fully appreciate their creativity. We see their uniqueness and celebrate their glory. We understand their brevity and relish their moment of grandeur.
Tulip bulbs are planted in the Fall before the ground freezes. The bulbs are meant to be buried and buried deep several months before they burst forth. And when their glorious blooms release their petals, gardeners say not to remove the leaves for six weeks after flowering. The tulips need their foliage to gather energy for the next year’s blooms.
Tulips are rich with wisdom. Refusing to compare ourselves to the other flowers, frees us to be who we are. Stand tall. You, my friend, announce the arrival of something long awaited. Understanding that we get planted deep and early before we burst forth, helps us see that we are not buried at all but purposefully planted. Time is required, stillness is necessary, a dark place precedes the eruption of joy. You, my friend, are growing into something unique and glorious. Recognizing at the end of our endurance we enter a season of gathering energy for the next blooms, helps us accept the cycle of our lives and allow others to bloom in their season. Blooms are only a part of the journey. You, my friend, are not finished, only gathering energy for the next eruption of joy.
Marianne Williamson said, “A tulip doesn’t strive to impress anyone. It doesn’t struggle to be different than a rose. It doesn’t have to. It is different. And there’s room in the garden for every flower.”