© Jo Hewitt THE TEAL MANGO, 2016
A test of courage and finesse, there was a game we played as kids-sitting on a thistle. Early on as I was learning the names and attributes of the weeds around the farm, were they friends or foes, I learned to distinguish the thistle from another weed which, for awhile, I confused with the thistle. I don’t remember what the other weed was, but the thistle has stuck with me. I was amazed that from a plant so hard to touch, to hold, emerged such a beautiful and elegant blossom. And later, it transformed into wisps of magic, silken seeds, whispering farewell, off to the unknown, on the cooling winds of the shore of autumn.
I understand why it is looked upon with such disdain as a vile plant. I know it is prickly. But the blossom is so lovely and the seeds so soft, like butterfly wings and gossamer with dew. I defy the common wisdom; I let a few grow and bloom among my roses.
Life is not so unlike the encounter with the thistle. There are people who are prickly, who are hard to know, and stand alone on the edge. Maybe, given a chance, they will begin to bloom, to yield something special. Maybe life is like maneuvering to sit on the thistle. One has to have courage, finesse, to maneuver to find a way to sit on, or stand and function among the prickles of it all.
In some ways, we are not so different than the thistle. We start out in what ever soil or rocks in which we landed. We are tender and green, but sometimes develop prickles as we go through life. Hopefully we get a chance to bloom and show the world our potential and beauty. And in the end, our essence, like silken sunlit seeds, wisps of spirit, lift away on the wind.