While browsing around my garden last week, I was surprised that the roses most anxious for spring are two that were not bred for the Northern Nevada climate.
My 2016 Portland Rose Festival Parade Roses, started in an Oregon nursery and transported here on faith, are greening up in eager anticipation of the blooming season. Even better, ruby shoots of new growth are forming on the emerald canes.
Like a prize stallion in a run for the roses, I expect that the rich, pink buds of these transplants will burst out of the starting gate before most of my other bushes have saddled up for the race. In fact, I’d bet my last dollar on that.
The value of going first, of not being afraid to bloom while others watch and wait, is a notion that actually occurred to me last summer. On bushes that produce roses in bouquet style, I noticed that typically one bud will explode in a flash of brilliant color while those around it seem to creep toward maturity. It’s as though the one is leading the way saying, “Come on, everybody. If I can do it, so can you.”
Greta Thunberg is like that.
If you don’t know the name, let me introduce you. She’s the 16-year-old Swedish girl who was recently nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her fearless and determined effort to raise awareness about climate change. Correction. Her effort to get adults to do something about climate change.
Last August, when she first began school walkouts and protests in front of the Swedish parliament, she was a lone figure. Now around 70,000 youth in 400 cities regularly walk out of school on Fridays to demonstrate their concern. And get this. Last week more than 1.5 million kids in 125 countries participated in a worldwide climate strike.
It’s worth mentioning that Greta has inspired this impressive youth movement even with the challenge of Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s on the Autism spectrum, and one of the characteristics is difficulty with social interaction. For one thing, someone with Asperger’s may continue a conversation past socially acceptable norms because they don’t notice the social cues that signal most of us to shut up.
Let that sink in.
Is it strange that a 65-year-old woman who grows roses in Nevada is in absolute awe of a 16-year-old who has captured global attention?
Most of us will never achieve a fraction of Greta’s influence. But we can learn something from her and from my Oregon roses growing in the Nevada desert. They aren’t afraid to go first. And we shouldn’t be either.
Are you holding back on something? Is there a dream that you’ll “someday” pursue or a movement you’ll “someday” support? Are you waiting for someone else to test the waters?
Don’t wait anymore. Jump in. Go first. Bloom first. Or as Dan Fogelberg sang in 1982, Run for the Roses.
“It’s the chance of a lifetime in a lifetime of chance, and it’s high time you joined in the dance.”