I saw a tender periwinkle bent low under the weight of an unexpected snow and I thought, for a moment, about the cruelty of a world that both births and threatens such beautiful things. Why send such a cheerful harbinger of spring out into barren fields, only to bury her?
But, then I watched that tiny stem slowly straighten and those icy petals open back up and reach hard for the light and I realized I’d misjudged.
Wild flowers rise – through vacant fields, craggy woods and crab grass, they rise in gentle splendor and indisputable strength.
I wonder, in all of nature, if there is anything more admirable than a Wisconsin wild flower. Scillia, periwinkle, squill and wood violets, Wisconsin’s state flower.
Wild and elegant, reliable and unforeseen, quiet and eloquent, those wild spring flowers show up unannounced and untended and requires nothing, neither vase nor arrangement, to flourish.
Comfortable in coarse places, they bloom in cheerful accord with their humbler cohorts.
I know a dirt path past a culvert where a sewer drains, that comes alive each spring with a gorgeous carpet of squill and trillium. Those unassuming flowers just show up there because they can, and everyone who sees them smiles and walks a little lighter in response.
So, here’s to the hardy, heart-y Wisconsin spring wild flower – the first, best burst of wild color after a long, gray winter.
You’re stronger than you realize and more necessary than you know.