Slow-Growing Beauty

Magnolia buds

Thought for the Week

I took this photo of magnolia buds on a recent walk. It may be the only time I’ve ever snapped a shot of tree buds. In fact, I rarely even notice them. Instead, early each spring I look at the “empty” tree limbs and wonder when they’ll ever “come to life.”

But of course, they already have.

Long before any signs appear, life is at work within them. And then the first signs—tiny, nascent buds—become visible. But only to those who look closely.

When we moved to Ohio, I noticed that redbuds were among the first trees to blossom in the spring, and that, although their flowers were beautiful, they were pink, not red.

“So why are they called redbuds,” I wondered aloud.

“Well, duh,” my wife gently replied, “because their buds are red.”

Why hadn’t I noticed that? Because I’d never actually looked at their buds. Once I did, I realized they had a beauty of their own, a subtle slow-growing beauty.

How many people are like that? Tragically, some never reach full flower at all. But others simply take a long, long time to get there. And so we fail see their sleepily developing promise of beauty. Instead, we see only their rough and scarred bark.

Maybe, if we look closer, we’ll learn to see the nascent good in others, to recognize their slow-growing beauty. And when we do…

Maybe they’ll even see it in us.

“How many thorns of human nature are bristling conceits, buds of promise grown sharp for want of a congenial climate?”

~John Burroughs

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
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11 Responses to Slow-Growing Beauty

  1. And some of us aren’t exactly beauties when we finally publish a first book at the age of 75, and hope for book two’s publication before we turn 77! Tenacity trumps talent, and even beauty!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Piano girl says:

    Love this analogy. Truth and beauty.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I remember how insulted my young college classmates and I would get when our writing was deemed “promising.”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Good grief. You just smacked me upside the head with this post.

    That isn’t a complaint, by the way. ;<)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ann Coleman says:

    So true! That reminds me of the children’s book, “Leo the late-bloomer.” And the best line in that book was the final one, “And, in his own good time, Leo bloomed!”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. revruss1220 says:

    What a wonderful metaphor… and a good “soul nudge,” too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I had been in this house for 5 years, my husband has been for 13. two years back I took time to go on roof for half hour and discovered that common mynah, that I have seen since childhood, actually has four variations with strong colour differences. We see when we want to see. Most of us trudge through life without caring.

    Liked by 1 person

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