This gladiolus is the most beautiful flower that my garden has produced this year.  Yes, the sprays of roses and bee-heavy jasmine were delightful, but I expected beauty in June.  This out-of-time flower somehow encapsulates where I am at the moment.  It’s far from perfect, and rather ragged around the edges, but determined to flourish against the odds, in the face of whatever the books say it should be capable of.  After weeks of watching it expand, from a tiny nibble of pink at the tip of a fat, green bud to the frilly spill-over of its first petals, I now revel in its full glorious imperfection.

Some people might say that its determination to bloom, despite the dark, the rain and the cold, is crazy.  The chances of it reaching this fulfilment without being blown over or blasted by frost were small.  Why isn’t this beautiful life huddled in its bulb, warm underground until the sun shines again?  Likewise, why don’t I accept that there is ‘no cure for fibromyalgia’, take some paracetamol and have a duvet day?  Why not? because that way lies hopelessness and a descent into eternal patient-hood, into the certainty that one will never reach one’s full potential.  That’s why not.  

The fact that this flower is blooming won’t make the sun shine warmly in December, but it warms my heart and those of anyone who chooses to notice it.  Each time I pass through the front door, I am cheered by the tiny splash of hot pink on a bone-chilling day.  It is a small but regular pick-me-up, the botanical equivalent of a random act of kindness and I am profoundly thankful for it.  I hope that in striving against the odds to bloom I can achieve a similar beauty and lift the lives of the people around me too