I always thought of flowers as delicate and fragile. And some are. But not all. Some of the loveliest are some of the toughest.

Lotus flowers, for instance, begin life in the yucky, muddy bottom of a pond where they struggle until they grow enough to reach the water’s surface where they finally have fresh air and sunlight. They don’t give up. Good for them!

Poppies don’t have it easy, either. Their seeds lie dormant in the dirt for a long time. Years and years. You’d think they don’t exist, with people walking carelessly all over them. That continues until the ground is disturbed and then they begin growing, suddenly, surprising people who’d forgot they existed and turning all that broken ground into a field of color. Remember the battlefields of Europe during WWII? How poets spoke of the poppies that sprang to life there? It’s what they do because they are tough.

The purple mountain saxifrage is a tiny, sweet flower that grows at higher altitudes than possibly any other flower on earth and brings a touch of color to the harsh landscape found at the top of the world. The top of the world! A place of cold and lack of oxygen and thousand-foot cliffs that scare people like me to death! But for these flowers, it’s home.

Every day, when I water my own picky blooms, I remind them how fortunate they are to live in my yard where everything is provided and all they have to do in return is be beautiful.

I don’t think they listen. In fact, they laugh.

Because they know their only job is to be lovely.

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