Let’s say you’re a flower.
Given the choice, where would you plant yourself?
(Apparently, you’re a flower with some sentience and free will. Just go with it.)
Conventional wisdom says if you want to do a particular thing, go where others are already successfully doing that thing. Want to help kids in your area? Work at a local school or youth program. Want to sell gluten-free, fair trade artisanal muffins from a pop-up shop? San Francisco is calling. Want to write for television? Better head to Los Angeles.
By this (human) logic, if you want to be a flower, a flower bed is the place for you.
Why not plant yourself where you stand the best chance of thriving? Why not go where the soil has been turned and cultivated, the automatic watering system has been installed, the butterflies are already coming around, and the whole environment is altogether hospitable to flowers?
Somewhere, systems for doing what you want to do or being what you want to be are already in place. Why make things any more difficult than they need to be?
Is there any place that needs one more flower less than a flower bed? And is there any place that needs one flower more than all the places flower beds aren’t yet?
I’ve been stopped in my tracks more than once by a single bloom popping out of a sidewalk crack or highway median in an inert, gray expanse of concrete where a flower clearly shouldn’t be.
Even if the bloom is common and unspectacular, finding it in this environment lends it a new radiance and power. It seems like a crack in the facade, something to puncture the tidy, standardized veneer we’ve put on an earth still pulsing and shifting, still teeming with life.
I appreciate the reminder that is the flower’s quiet insurrection.
Look at you, hardy soul. What are you doing here?
Objectively, a sidewalk crack is an awful place for a flower.
Maybe there’s enough dirt to root in, but it’s bad dirt and no one waters it and the plant’s whole existence is completely subject to weather patterns beyond its control.
A sidewalk is also a throughway, which means the flower is more likely to be kicked and trampled than even noticed, whereas only a toddler or a hoodlum would trounce through a flower bed.
Flower beds are made to be maintained and admired.
If you’re a flower who wants the easiest possible existence, choose a flower bed.
But what if you’re more interested in impact than ease?
Or what if no choice seems possible?
What if you find yourself an uneasy fit, a square peg in a round hole, destined for a flower-in-a-sidewalk-crack kind of existence?
Stand proud and tall, and know that your very improbability will make you exactly what someone most needed and least expected to find wherever you’ve rooted.