One of the many reasons I love getting away to the house I visit in a small community in Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay: Buttercups.
Back in my suburban neighborhood, herbicides have wiped out “weeds” in every perfectly manicured yard. But a few weeks ago at my get-away, I saw the cheery flowers in the photo above growing in the yard across the street with wild abandon. No weed killer there.
They launched a picture in my mind: I saw myself as a tiny child, and my father holding a buttercup just under my chin. He said, “If I see yellow under there, you love butter!” And sure enough, the prediction was true. I do love butter.
Then I held one under his chin, and a yellow spot glowed on his skin. He loved butter for sure. I remember that Papa and I never tired of that magical little summertime routine.
Now, of course, I realize that the pure, vibrant yellow from those petals will always reflect up and give the same answer. If only our knowledge of Lyme disease were so straight forward.
With pleasure, I made pictures of those touchstones to the simplicity of childhood. Then, an hour or so later I was resting on the sofa when the bump and roar of a hard-working old lawnmower reached my ears.
The next time I went outside I saw that every flower was gone, leaving the yard plain green — and me bereft.
On my next visit I was completely surprised to find hundreds of new buttercups bobbing their heads cheerily in the breeze. They’d simply grown back from strong roots, a small but strong emblem of nature’s resilience.
I realize I’m resilient, too. Even when something cuts me all the way to the ground—Lyme disease, my mother’s lingering illness, stress—I need to hold onto the idea that, like the buttercups, I will come fully back.