We've had artichoke plants in our garden for a number of years now. They grow as perennials here. Even though the harsh summer heat of August may make them die back to the ground, they'll sprout again as soon as the winter rains begin to replenish the thirsty soil. I've even seen artichokes growing wild on the hills around town, and they go through the same cycle that my own have done year after year.
It wasn't until I had artichokes plants of my own, that I discovered what an artichoke bloom looks like. If an artichoke isn't harvested to eat, it eventually blooms with a soft feathery center of electric blue. The bloom lasts a long time (several weeks in fact) before it turns white and downy so the seed can take flight in the wind.
Unfortunately, like many perennials, our artichoke plants got older and weren't producing the same quality produce as they had when we first planted them. I've waited and waited, putting off the day when I'd have to take them out. I let them bloom one last time this summer before I dug down into the dirt to pull out the massive roots to make way for a raised garden bed that I will be installing in that location.
And maybe, just maybe, I'll end up planting a new artichoke in that raised bed once I have it installed. Because for some reason, I find the prehistoric leaves framing the electric blue blossoms quite beautiful.
I've thought about the symbolism in an artichoke applied to life. Sometimes I think that I have to have something according to my own time line--a time line I've somehow figured out is the best timing for whatever it is I'm trying to accomplish. I have to "harvest" according to what I think the optimum time is to "harvest". But I've found that very often if I slow down a bit, apply some patience (very hard for me to do, by the way), and wait past when I think the "harvest" should be, I'm rewarded with a serendipitous outcome that is even more wonderful than I had envisioned when I was pushing for a self-imposed and self-constructed time line. Sure, I could have gotten a perfectly satisfactory result if I'd pushed for my original timing, just as a green artichoke freshly harvested is perfectly satisfactory. But the brilliance of the electric blue blossoms of life almost always require the patience to wait. And I've always found them to be worth the wait.
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