Lupines taught me a life lesson

Are you familiar with lupines? They are of a genus of flowering plants in the legume family, just in case you wanted to know.
Actually, they are of a genus of flowering plants in the legume family even if you didn’t want to know.
Lupines grow freely in the abandoned gravel pit down the path behind my house; grow freely in lush colonies of colour—pinks and purples and whites in a multitude of shades.
Lupines are beautiful to look at, all wild and random, hanging out in areas that could use a bit of colour and cheering up. But what I didn’t know was the lesson lupines can teach—lessons they taught me.
I gathered lupine seedpods last summer and let them dry in my potting shed. The seed pods had all burst because that is what they do—they explode, flinging their seeds to catch a ride on the wind.
I spread the seeds carefully in the ditch at the road in front of my house, encouraging their propagation with prepared beds and regular watering and a whole lot of hope. I wanted them to like their new home and fill the ditch that is difficult to mow, and transform it into something lovely; something wild and natural, blending in with the wild roses that hang out in my ditch.
Then I waited.
This spring, the results of my efforts were quite clear. I planted several hundred seeds and I saw no evidence of success until I almost had given up hope. And then there they were—little tiny bits of life emerging from the ground with their lovely unique leaf formation.
This wasn’t the significant lesson, though good things come to those who wait could apply here.
I also transplanted several lupine plants this spring before they got busy with flowering. “Tricky bit of business that is,” I was told by more than one gardening expert, but I pushed on “undaunted toward the light” (to borrow a phrase).
I was careful with the plants; I watered and encouraged them, spoke kindly to them, used my best manners, didn’t startle or threaten them. As a result, my transplanted lupine survived, thankfully, and I was chuffed (or very pleased, if you prefer).
But that’s still not the good news to which I refer.
We often are told, especially when the going gets tough, that from extraordinary hardship often comes beauty and magic. This is what the delicate, fragile lupine has taught me.
The seeds that fell from the pods in my potting shed, the small black bits of almost nothing, dropped down into the gravel that forms the floor of my shed, and without water and without sunlight, without encouragement of any kind, lupines have emerged.
Not one or two, but 20 or more lupines are growing happily in my potting shed. They grow there as testament, a declaration to me. “Keep going,” they say.
We really don’t know what lies ahead, but it’s going to be an adventure and it’s all going to turn out right. That’s what the lupines have whispered to me—even shouted it at times.
We don’t know where our best life lessons will come from. I shall remember this one.
wendistewart@live.ca

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