I am not a blade of grass.
I am not like everyone else,
Cut to the same height,
Living shoulder-to-shoulder,
Standing-room-only on the lawn,
Waiting to be walked on.

I am a wildflower,
Growing on the bank
Of a beautiful river.
Swaying in the breeze,
Basking in the sun,
Bobbing in the rain,
Roots spread out,
Reaching for the sky.

If you try to cut me down,
Stomp on me,
Or control how I grow,
You will see my wild side!
I cannot be crushed,
I cannot be stopped.
I will grow and flourish
No matter what,
Because to do so is my nature,
And nature can’t be stopped.

I bloom and grow,
See the river rise and fall,
Sway in the breeze,
Bask in the sun,
Bob in the rain,
Roots spreading out,
Reach for the sky.

purple pasqueflowers

I wrote this poem for a beautiful, Filipino waitress serving me at a local “greasy spoon” restaurant. She was sweet, friendly and efficient. I glanced up and saw her carrying a load of plates, full of food, to a nearby table. She wasn’t “on” in that moment; she wasn’t performing or pretending. She saw me looking at her and a split second passed — of knowing, of shared struggles, of understanding — before she put her smile back on. I grabbed a pen and wrote this on a napkin and left it for her on the table.

Small Lessons from Nature

The leaves on many trees have sawtooth edges, yet they don’t function or sound like a saw. Similarly, people who appear one way aren’t necessarily that way at their core. For example, a harsh-looking teenager, with piercings, dyed hair and dark makeup isn’t necessarily a trouble-maker or a violent person. He or she is, most likely, a hurting person, or perhaps they are just conforming to the norm in their group of friends. Likewise, someone who seems to have their life all together often doesn’t; he or she is just working very hard to keep up the illusion, in order to hide the true chaos within.

This is just a reminder to never judge things by how they appear, nor people by how they act. There is always more going on below the surface. Why not give people a chance to show who they really are? When you are genuine, it encourages others to be as well. It isn’t complicated, and I guess it all comes back to the golden rule:

Treat others as you would have them treat you.

If you can get a leaf to actually cut wood, let me know! Wouldn’t that be handy?!? Then again, if that were true, when a breeze tickled its branches, the tree would cut itself to pieces, and like everyone else, it has a will to survive — to thrive — too! Nature never harms itself. It aims for all species to thrive together, and left undisturbed, that’s exactly what it will do. We are a part of nature; do not harm yourself or think unkind thoughts toward yourself. Let yourself thrive! (Perhaps connecting deeply with nature will help you do this.)

This is a wild rose, but many trees have similar leaves… Isn’t it beautiful!?