If the seasons were people, this year’s Spring would be a late-bloomer. I’m getting a little fidgety waiting for some daffodils and tulips. Can you blame me? I’ve spent most of my life expecting Nebraska Spring to prove that winter doesn’t last for-EVER.
The thing is, I can totally relate to a season that takes its time showing up. I’ve always been a little late to the party myself. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been hopelessly behind in personal fashion, trendy fads and hairstyles (but that didn’t stop me from trying to style my own hair for second-grade picture day).
And for someone who’s always in a hurry and gets described as impatient about once a day, it surprises me as much as anybody that it took me so long to figure out my vocation. For Spring and me, it’s been fits and starts the whole way. One day we’re radiant and hopeful, the next, we’re plunged into gray and gloomy.
I didn’t figure out this herbalist thing until way after 40. By then, my younger sister was already retired, my brothers were well into their careers, and my friends were accomplished teachers, attorneys, dentists, and the types of professionals I was encouraged to be as a kid.
Then, like a fluky Spring snowstorm, the defining moment of my life came along out of nowhere. Instead of losing all hope of finding my calling, treatment and recovery from breast cancer planted the seed for my herbalist roots. Sitting in the chemo room watching the pink stuff draining into my veins, I hit the proverbial rock bottom. I finally gave myself permission to start healing all the wounds that got me there. Like those seeds in Yellowstone, the ones that need an intense fire to germinate, I needed a trial by fire.
It took me a few years to get it all straightened out, but some perennial force has kept me going and growing. I dug up buried emotional and physical pain, pulled it apart and used it as compost to grow into an herbalist. All those years of pain finally make sense. I like to think of my healing and recovery as the life experience I needed to appreciate the suffering my patients carry with them.
Yeah, I took my time, tried on a couple suits that didn’t fit. Raised three kids I’m seriously proud of. It hasn’t been a wasted life by any measure. And now, I get to put it all together with a lifelong curiosity and love of learning, into my work as an herbalist who’s just emerging after a long winter (and some seriously bad hair days).
Winter really doesn’t last forever. Maybe just another week…