The flower in this photo has an interesting story hiding behind the sweet pink confection of it's petals. Long ago, the this plant was named for the wolf, because the lupine was considered to be an aggressive plant which leeched the soil of its nutrients. It is now known to be a survivor which thrives in poor soil. Many of the plants in my garden have special stories in their names or in age-old beliefs about their usage. Many people have planted lupines in their garden without giving any thought to their story. On the other hand, some gardeners like to "dig a little deeper" for as much of the story as they can find.
As I go about the routines of my daily life, I encounter many people whose story I do not know, though I know the stories of so many of the flowers in my garden. I have never asked the librarian in our town if she wanted to be a librarian as a child, or was there something else she dreamed of becoming. There are mothers I see coming and going at the school several times a week. For the most part, I don't know where they are hurrying to or from. Are we all too busy to hold still and listen to each other's stories these days?
I am requesting a little reader participation... I encourage you to learn someone's story over the next few days. Ask an elderly person at church about their childhood. Ask a new friend where they met their husband. Ask a community volunteer what started them on a path to community service. If you take the time to do this, I'd love to hear about it.
One day while shopping, I learned a great deal about a retired woman's life in Florida. She asked about a product I was purchasing, and perhaps encouraged by my friendly reply to her question, she launched into a full scale conversation. By the end of my circuit through the grocery store, I had encountered her several times and knew that she had five grown children, all boys, and that the Italian gentleman that lived next door to her place in Florida made the very best spaghetti sauce ever from the simplest garden ingredients. He grew his own tomatoes, she assured me. I also know that she was as proud of her crop of boys as the Italian Gentleman was of his sauce!
photo by Aisling, June 2005