My ‘Stripey’ auricla is the first to bloom, the others don’t even have flower buds on them, so I consider it an early bloomer. I know from my gardening experience over the years that microclimates, where you’re situated on the side of a hill, in relation to morning and afternoon sun, etc. really determine growth and blooming times.
But what about people? I was always told that I was a late bloomer, but many of my physiologic milestones came early. In other ways, I was a stunted bloomer. Double tragedies, the deaths of our brother and mother, struck our family when I was in my early teens. We had poor coping skills. We moved to England in 1966, a great distraction from grief.
Somehow I always knew I’d bloom, but didn’t have a clue where or how. I stopped smoking and drinking in the late 80’s and things began to change. I survived my own health crisis in my early forties, went to Dominican for a nursing degree, then to Johns Hopkins, for a Masters in Public Health. There was great satisfaction in completing class after class, and it felt like I was growing up. I got a job that taught me even more than my formal education. If asked, I’d have said that yes, I had finally bloomed, later than most of my contemporaries, so a later bloomer.
Fast forward to now. I’m making these botanical images, have produced a book full of them, and I’m feeling great joy. My art has carried me through the pandemic, a white supremacist for president, and a wildfire that drove us from our home. I’ve fully bloomed!