I pause from what I’m writing and look at the window. Big white puff balls float on the warm August breeze.
Nature’s perfect seed delivery system.
I watch with the wonder of a child as the thistle plant, a weed among the perennials in my ill-attended flower garden, releases its seeds in beautiful, wooly tufts.
I imagine the mother flower encouraging her children, “Go now, little ones. It is time. My life is done. Go forth and put down roots of your own.”
A big gust of wind takes five, six, ten at a time. Then several minutes pass before another lets go.
The thistle flower stands more than 4 feet tall. A reminder of my busy spring. Of my failure to weed the beds. One of a million chores not tended to.
I’ve watched its flowers bloom. Have cautioned the children of its sharp thorns. I’ve seen it feed the hummingbirds and the bumblebees.
Now I watch it give birth as it dies.
I call the kids, “Girls come and look at how beautiful this is.”
We are outside now. Watching the white fluff float away, wondering where it will land.
In this moment, I’m glad I wasn’t more organized this spring. Otherwise, I would not be sitting here with my children, watching the magic of nature unfold. I may be cursed by neighbours for fostering future generations of thistle plants, but so be it.
This thistle gives me time and opportunity to plant seeds of knowledge in my children’s heads, to teach them about how the plant was designed to survive and to thrive like humans are. How, had I yanked it from the earth when it rose its head among the cedums and the hostas, that it would not be here today.
Soon the seed tufts will all be gone. Already the flower is almost spent.
Some will simply be swept away while others will grow and thrive. If the thistle roots in someone else’s garden, it will most likely be yanked out before ever being given a chance to grow into its adult version of itself.
It will never be.
Perhaps next spring (if I have a better handle on my life) I, myself, will pull a thistle plant without thinking. Writing it off as a weed without seeing the beauty that it might become.