The butterfly bush in our back yard blooms vibrantly in the early summer, filling the yard with sweet fragrance. Its majestic purple flowers draw not only butterflies, but bees and hummingbirds in abundance. When we have a mild fall as we've experienced this year, and when we are especially lucky, and when we least expect it, (because, really it sometimes doesn't happen even under perfect conditions), the butterfly bush has a second bloom. Its limbs have stretched by fall, a result of having reached for the light all summer. These longer branches are much more desirable for flower arrangements. I stood poised with my clippers, then stopped as I noticed a butterfly perched on one of the flowers. (the photo here is not mine, but resembles the little being I saw) I sat on the ground, thankful for the gifts of a late season bloom, and a butterfly to enjoy it with me. I found myself getting teary at the thought of the butterfly's limited time, and of the effect of a first frost on these purple beauties. I watched as the butterfly gathered nectar from one bloom, then moved to another. There seemed no sense of urgency, no niggling sense of morality- just the simple grace of the present.
I'm a bit of a slow processor. I wish I could have quipped back that I'm not a late bloomer, but a second bloomer, as I believe is God's intention for each of us. The gardens of our youth are carefully planned, mapped out, clipped back and dead headed. They are fertilized, and pests are meticulously picked off, lest the foliage get ruined. Second blooms are leggier, less controlled, less contrived, and usually bear the evidence of hungry pests. Second blooms hold the delight of the unexpected, the nectar of the unanticipated, and the attention of the butterfly who is transfixed by the magic of the moment. Second blooms have the power to make us stop, to sit on the ground and to marvel at the gift of this moment.
If you're planting your first garden, may it yield all that you hope for. If, like me, you're experiencing a second bloom, may it startle you to realize all there is to do before the frost; and may you delight in the nectar of the now.