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Waiting For my tulip to Blossom
Last year, when the leaves started to fall to the ground, I planted 100 tulips in the front of our house, crossed my fingers, and prayed that when spring came, white, pink and red tulip flowers would fill the front of our house.
Gardening has never been my family’s forte; my father is a good engineer but a bad gardener and my mother does not like gardening at all. Our front yard has always been a mess, with twigs littering the steps and bald patches of yellowing grass. In contrast, our neighbors, Steve and Suzanne are the perfect gardeners. Their front yard was always a myriad of dazzling colors bordered by miniscule forest green hedges, and interspersed with stalks of lavenders gently dancing in the breeze. Every spring we look at our neighbor’s front yard and jealously wonder why we did not plan ahead for beautiful spring colors bursting from all kinds of flowers.
Last year, I wanted to make a change; I wanted my front yard looks as stunning as my neighbors’.
So I convinced my father to buy me 100 tulips. And one Sunday afternoon, I started to plant the tulips on the small strip of land next to our garage
It was raining that day and the soil became a gritty mud like mixture dotted with insects and bits of rock. I followed the instructions, dug 100 holes 6-8 inches deep and 4-6 inches apart, and carefully placed 100 tulip bulbs into the holes, pointy-side up with the roots facing downward. I can tell you, that planting one tulip are fun, but planting 100 is incredibly onerous. Yet, I was in high spirits and although my clothes got dirty, my knees got scraped, my hair quickly became drenched, I was still exuberant that I had planted 100 tulips all by myself.
Since then, every time I left or entered my house, I couldn’t help but glance at the corner where I planted the tulips, hoping that one day I would see beautifully arranged flowers shooting up from the ground. Some nights I would sit on the bench in front of our house, staring at the tulip corner, listening to the silence of the night, and hoping to detect any tiny change within the soil. Day after day, night after night, nothing changed. Nothing happened at all.
How disappointing it was! After weeks of patiently waiting, there was not a single living object that showed signs of tulips. I was thinking that the tulips had probably died, just like all the other plants I planted.
I remember one spring when I planted a watermelon seed in my backyard, diligently watering it the whole summer only to have it die in autumn, without producing a single fruit. And then there was that other time where I planted a peer tree in the backyard. I dreamed about that one day it would grow into a sturdy tree with little white flowers blooming in the spring. My heart was full of joy, because it gave me a dream. It let me fantasize that one day the small tree would flourish and be the envy of all other plants. Hereafter I watered it every day and felt of spark of happiness whenever a crisp new leaf appeared on the tree.
As, summer disappeared and autumn arrived, rabbits came to my backyard at night and gnawed the tree’s slim trunk. Winter's snow storm covered it with so much snow and ice, that only the topmost branch of tree would stick out, trembling in the cold northern wind. And when spring came again, it didn’t wake up, my pear tree had died.
Although this was many years ago and a small aspect of my life, I would always remember the crushing blow of failure. It was the first time I failed so completely and thoroughly at a dream, that I can still vividly remember the hollow empty feeling inside me. I realized that I am not good at gardening. I realized that gardening, like studying, applying for universities and many things in life, needs not only dreams, and desires, but also the skills and knowledge to master it. Anyone can dream of having a gorgeous garden; however dreams alone are not enough unless they are substantiated by effort and work. I realized that as an ordinary and non-special girl; I did not possess the skills or the knowledge to be a fine gardener. More importantly I discovered that I could have dreams, but my dreams would not come true unless I have worked to master the skills and knowledge related to my dream.
However, I am also a girl who never admits failure without trying my best. For this reason, I still planted 100 tulips last fall, in spite of my tree planting fiasco the year before. And this time I did my homework. I googled various web sites to learn about planting tulips, read gardener’s blogs and bought the right tools and fertilizers. In addition, I begged my father to buy those large tulip bulbs instead of the small ones as the large ones could survive better while producing superior flowers. I did everything I could to make sure things would be done right this time.
Nevertheless, Tulips are tricky flowers; unlike most ordinary plants found in a typical garden, tulips must be planted in the fall when all other flowers are closing their blossoms. To plant a tulip takes early planning, foresight, and most of all patience. Thus, those who choose to plant tulips must wait an entire winter before seeing any results.
So I waited; I waited for the first leaves to fall, for the chilly northern winds to blow and for the snowstorm to arrive. By then, the tulip corner was covered completely by a glowing blanket of snow. One day we got half a meter snow piled up on the ground because of a severe snow storm and when I looked outside of my bedroom window, all I could see was white, white, and white; every inch of the ground was covered by fluffy, glistening white snow.
Yet, gradually I forgot about the tulips. Day after day and night after night, I no longer looked at the tulip corner for I knew it was no use to look. Spring time has yet to come.
Finally, one day the snow started to melt and the soil reappeared underneath the snow. I couldn’t wait to check my corner, to see if there was any trace of a tulip, but all I saw was desolate slush tinted with mud and dirt. Although there was plenty of garbage from the winter, cigarette butts ground into the dirt, half empty bottles of water peeking out from the snow, and decomposed pieces of paper pressed into the cracks of the sidewalk, there was still no sign of tulips. So I waited some more, despite the well frustration building inside me.
Then, on one spring day while walking out the front door, I was pleasantly surprised to see several sharp green leaves emerge from the soil in the corner; those were the tips of my tulips! This time I knew that the colorful tulips were not far behind. This time I had patience, and this time I no longer feared the long wait. I also knew that when my tulips blossomed, they would be the most beautiful tulips in my neighborhood.
And yes, one day they all blossomed and this time, it was my neighbors who jealously wondered why they did not plan ahead for the beautiful pure white, pink and red colors bursting from the tulips.