It is late February as I write this, and more insistently than usual, spring seems to be fully upon us. This morning while out for some quiet time in the backyard near the edge of the woods, I saw this little beauty. This tiny flower (notice the pine needles nearby and the fronds of moss surrounding it for context) is called Houstonia pusilla, also known as Tiny Bluet, Small Bluet and Star Violet. I’ve noticed them for years growing in our wooded neighborhood, most often on the edges of the woods rather than deep within. They are so small that one can easily walk past them or over them and never notice. They do require slowing down and paying attention to a location in the world that we are more likely to overlook. There are a few varieties of Houstonia, some slightly larger than this, and varying in shades of blue and white. They grow from the Dakotas east to Maine and south to Florida. That’s a huge expanse of space to cover for something that many people may never see even while walking over them.
This is the first one, at least in our yard. I know that there will be many more, maybe hundreds. This is where they are rooted and where they have seeded. They show up every spring and last well into the summer. When we take time to notice their tiny frame, they offer back breathtaking beauty. Part of that beauty is that they simply, and insistently, and with vigor keep showing up, spring after spring regardless of what is going on around them. They have been in this space where I live through drought and several floods. They keep showing up. They show up regardless of whether the area is mowed or not. They keep showing up whether the deer move through the space eating the greenery or not.
Roses get a lot of attention as the “love flower,” but today, in this spring time, I’d like to offer this little one as an exemplar of the kind of love that takes root and keeps showing up. I bet you know people like that. I suspect you and I have benefitted from people like that–who show up, again and again. Their very presence and what flows from it is a statement of love. Let this little flower call us to a moment of gratitude for the exemplars of love who keep showing up.