The lotus finally awakes from its winter’s sleep. The first shoots, emerging from the muck, unfurl their leaves to lie like lily pads on the surface.
Only later will shoots grow to their magnificent height with leaves waving in the sun and rain like umbrellas in a Manet painting.
Are the first leaves scouts, checking to see if it is warm enough, if there is sun enough? Or are they the ones chosen to gather the first food of the season, feeding the bulbs below to make them strong enough to impel the plant to its late-season glory?
The lotus. One of the most ancient of symbols. It is everywhere in ancient Egyptian art. It appears in the headdress of the ancient Minoan snake goddess. The lotus pose is the fountain for yogic and Buddhist meditation practices. Why?
The lotus thrives in the murkiest of waters. Its leaves and blossoms emerge pristine, shedding the muck to stand tall and beautiful in the summer sun. Each night the lotus blossom closes only to open again at daybreak. Nourished by the muck but with beauty unsullied, born and reborn. It is a symbol of rising above the trials of our daily lives and of rebirth.
But the first leaves, too, deserve attention. They are the modest ones that lie quietly on the murky surface. They serve as their own symbol–of the journey that must be taken. Of lying quiet as the sun above and muck below nourish one’s core. Of gathering strength and then rising tall. Of embracing the journey knowing the blossoms will come.