Indian Paintbrushes

In summer of 2011 I cared for Ron’s mom in her last weeks. While I was away from home, one of my boys mowed the yard. He didn’t know that Indian Paintbrushes look dead long before their seeds are ready. We had one large patch of these bright wildflowers. To him they looked dead so he mowed them down. He was trying to be helpful. I cried.

The next year only twelve flowers bloomed in an area about ten feet wide. Precious, delicate flowers. I was very careful to not damage them. I explained to my boys not to mow them until I said to. The flowers grew and showed beautiful orange and yellow! Then the blooms faded. They turned black. They went to seed. I mowed them down, and, in doing so, I spread their seeds.

We had hundreds of blooms in that spot the next year.

Each year I enjoy my wildflowers. I look forward to their blossoming. I look for the tiny buds. I watch them grow and bloom. For weeks I see their beauty. I’m careful not to cut them.

I want them to go to seed and spread. I wait until they look dead. They are black and ugly when dead. I wait a few extra days. I check to see if the seeds are ready. Only then do I mow them down and spread their seeds.

I now have thousands of these beautiful flowers blooming all over my yard! Some are hundreds of yards from those surviving twelve. Their beauty has blossomed and spread. The life those twelve had has caused thousands to spring to life. Even my neighbor now has hundreds growing in their yard.

From what appears to be dead comes life. We just have to wait.

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