My youngest daughter bought me a package of Paperwhite Narcissus bulbs for planting indoors. We planted them on November 1st, and today, they bloomed! This only took 20 days from planting to enjoyment. Fragrant! Lovely!
Do you remember when I wrote about the “Chilling Requirement” of certain fruit trees in Pennsylvania? The peach trees, for example, need 1000 hours of rest in below 40 degree weather for dormancy. They won’t flower and produce fruit unless they meet this chilling requirement. The chilling requirement for some plants enables them to then come alive in a new season. Only then will they begin to grow.
Back then, I wondered what my own chilling requirement might be.
Paperwhites, however, have no chilling requirement. As soon as you plant them, the bulbs immediately begin to grow. Unlike other bulbs like daffodils and tulips (that require adequate chilling), paperwhites just bloom no matter what. You just add water! And you can stagger your plantings so you have continuous blooms throughout the holiday season.
I love looking at and smelling my paperwhites. They remind me of a certain readiness for action, a certain ability to spring to life when it’s time. I tell God I’m ready–anytime and anywhere–to grow and bloom. Instead of considering traditional patterns of rest and dormancy, God might invite me to be more paperwhite than tulip this season.
It’s all inside of us. Just add water, and we’re ready. We don’t pay attention to traditional patterns; when God says to bloom, we do it.