My Wisteria is blooming. The long delicate blooms at least a foot long, the luxurious purple bursts from nearly empty vines. Each year the blossoming comes before the growth, before the leaves, that make this bearer of beauty a ravaging force of nature. Nearly unstoppable and one of the most poisonous plants to have in your garden if you have any being or creature in your local that is prone to putting pretty things in their mouth.
I stared at the flowers, so delicate, not fragrant like the lilac’s next door, yet its mystery and short-lived color, it’s subtle scent enthrall so many, encouraging them to place this invasive, aggressive vine in their yards, against their homes, and above otherwise peaceful settings. Similar in some ways to hanging a beautiful star made of asbestos above a baby’s cradle; the danger is there but undisturbed it is just a beautiful object.
I kept thinking, there is a philosophical perspective here. After the blossoms, the leaves and massive growth come. After the beauty the strength… but isn’t that just like women?
Women start, like Wisteria, as small delicate plants with the potential of producing exceptional beauty. Yet this remarkable show of lavender hues lacing our yards is limited, just as a woman’s flawless beauty is restricted by time, the beauty of youth; complete with innocence and allure.
As we age, we learn, we grow, for those of us who mature gracefully, perhaps our beauty is maintained, honestly or with help, but we all know that the glory days are mostly behind us, firm flesh and unassisted perky bosoms are mostly a thing of the past. We grapple with this, we struggle against the tides of time and inevitable wrinkles, sagging and all the ravages of old age.
We buy creams and lifts and get plastic surgery, we struggle to maintain something that was never meant to be ours for the long haul. What if, just what if, we embraced the lessons of the Wisteria vine. What if we took the world, hell our lives, by storm, accepted our less than perfect bodies and faces and simply grew? What if like the Wisteria vine, we became a force of nature that went where we wanted to go, grew where we wanted to grow and simply gave f**k-all to anyone who tried to stop us.
Last year, I had to cut back this beautiful, ferocious vine. As I chopped away, the long young creepers, sticky and eager to grow on anything, they tugged persistently at my clothes as if to remind me that this pruning was a useless endeavor. The tendrils were warning me that this itinerant beast would inevitably become more prominent, stronger, more powerful; and even as I cut the vines, the roots were corkscrewing under the very ground I stood upon, heaving aside massive amounts of dirt, and simply winding around any obstruction that would not give way. What if we did that? What if women, rather than giving up or giving in when someone cut off our growth, we simply moved in a different direction, kept moving and growing, our course only temporarily detoured, we keep going because who else is better suited to take a hit, cut, or other devastation and keep moving, growing, evolving and overcoming. Who else?
From the Wisteria, we can gain a Crone’s wisdom. Beauty is deceiving, and short-lived. Strength and growth are limited only by our thoughts, only by what we think we can have or do. What if glamourous unrealistic beauty was seen as a negative because it distracts us from our true potential, our pure strength, and our possibilities. We hang on to the wrong things, rather than moving past the stationary blockades so we can find new horizons and ultimately find a new beginning, or hope or a new place to climb.
What if the flowers that will come the next time around, are just symbols of our beauty that is being expressed in different ways, not the magazine kind, but an authentic power displayed as elegance.