She was planted years ago.
The gardener eagerly awaited her first blooms.
But one night her leaves were stripped bare. A late night meal for a hungry deer.
Over time new leaves unfurled. One by one they came. Tiny, but present.
The evidence of a promise that life still resided within her.
But that promise soon faced an onslaught of more difficulties. All of which seemed determined to destroy her: flooding rains, scorching heat, destructive insects and, of course, more deer.
One stalk was all that remained when the gardener found her.
One weary stick pointing towards the sun.
A fence was erected to keep the deer away, mulch was mounded to protect from flooding rain, fertilizer was added to nourish her depleted roots, and then…the gardener waited.
Her neighboring plants bloomed all around her.
Brilliant colors burst from their branches.
The little plant, with her tiny leaves and bare spots, looked so small and dull in comparison.
But still she stood.
Her small leaves capturing every ray of sun. Her short branches stretching toward the heavens. Her tender roots reaching deep into the soil.
Months later, the gardener prepared her neighbors for fall.
Their flowers were spent. Their bending branches, heavy with large blooms, were cut back to prepare for next years growth.
The gardener turned and smiled at the little plant. “You will get your turn one day, little one.”
Day after day, the little plant kept her leaves toward the sun. Even when temperatures dropped and all the other plants prepared for winter.
And then one cool sunny autumn day the gardener walked by the little plant and stopped.
The gardener smiled.
“Well, hello there.”
The gardener reached toward the little plant’s one perfect bloom.
A bloom, not impressive by its size, or form, or number.
But because of its resilience. Because of its determination. Because of its promise.
Her time had come at last.
When all around her was spent, she bloomed.
One perfect bloom.
Unconcerned with timing.
Unbothered by the lateness of the season.