It is the Spring Equinox today, which has prompted me to have a peek in the garden and see what is happening. A couple of years ago, I decided that I needed to plan ahead if I wanted to find beauty out there so I planted bulbs, all sorts of spring flowers, and waited expectantly.
I was waiting for one flower in particular, though: a fritillary. I had been enchanted by their delicate shape and dusty mauve hue ever since I had come across them in some woodland.
The fact that there is no picture to accompany this is an indication that the fritillary did not thrive. I planted it, as per the instructions, noticed its tiny pale green shoots push through the soil, my anticipation growing as the thin stem shot into the air - there was even a small flower bud forming. Sadly, at the first heavy rain of Spring, it was crushed.
My question at this point was what did I do wrong? What was the problem? Had I put it in the wrong place? Was the soil too sandy or acidic? Was there enough sunlight? Too much moisture? Never once did I ask what was wrong with the plant. I assumed that given the right environment, the plant would thrive.
How is it, when we are supporting children to develop, we often look for a problem in the child when they are not thriving? We ask experts in to assess them, observe their interactions, movement, ask doctors examine to them - what is the problem with them?
Perhaps, the problem is with their environment. Maybe they do not have enough warmth or light in their lives. Perhaps the nourishment they receive is not adequate to promote healthy minds and bodies. Maybe the imbalance leads to them shooting up too soon and lacking the resilience to withstand the storms that will inevitably come.
I am relieved to find that many of my bulbs have survived, and thrive in my garden. The excitement of seeing them bloom and bring fresh beauty into the world reminds me to keep looking for signs of growth.
And if there is no growth? Change the environment, look for a better match to their needs, and then see them flourish.