This Bud's for Me

I've been studying these marigold blooms in the evenings on my fire escape, when my children are in bed, the dishes are done, and the light is still hanging on a little longer.  When I saw this bud, I thought, that's me.  It's easy to compare myself to friends unfolding in their splendor all around me; it's effortless for me to make it mean that I'll never catch up or I'll never get there.  I'm growing too slowly, or I'm not the blooming kind.  These thoughts do not have to be sought out or invited into my company--they loiter always in the corner and butt-in at will. What does take effort is to look at how far I've come.  Out of the seed, up through the soil.  It's an act of attention to notice the stem and its strength, the leaves I've grown to sustain me.  It takes faith to see the tiny tips of orange peeking out and to trust that my own kind of beauty is coming, and that I will unfold in my own time.