Yesterday, I examined the cattails by a beautiful pond. I’ve always studied cattails. As a child, I learned how the cattails hid the nests of mallards and geese. I discovered how you could walk between the stalks, nearly sinking into the marshy bank of the Potomac River, and find turtles as small as your thumbnail and bullfrogs the size of a dinner plate.
But I learned never to take a cattail inside the house. The seeds would disperse everywhere. So you left them alone–those tall soldiers guarding the ponds and rivers–and observed how, in late summer, great fluffy parachutes of seeds launched out over the water. They could overtake a whole habitat. Nothing could come against them.
I remember this, and I suddenly realize what the cattail represents: explosive, invasive, unmanageable, impenetrable growth.
You can’t stop a cattail. The roots go deep and store massive amounts of nutrients. The tip of the plant constitutes innumerable seeds carried far and wide by wind. Bad weather simply aids the dispersal. A flood only makes the roots stronger. A drought just means the seeds leave sooner.
You can’t stop a cattail. That’s what I’m thinking about as my time in Colorado comes to an end next week. It hasn’t been the summer I imagined. We’ve been more sick than healthy and more challenged than refreshed. But you can’t stop a cattail. Hardship can only aid our growth.
Journal: Do I believe I am as strong and fruitful as a cattail?