Shirin McArthur

prayerful pondering

Bloom as You are Able


On a recent hike, my friend and I took the Angel Loop trail around Gomez Peak, which meant that we traversed a variety of terrain. The north side of the peak was relatively shaded and cool, and we saw a number of wildflowers that were just about to bloom. The south side was much more exposed, complete with a wonderful agave forest that might be the subject of another blog at some point. But what caught my attention as we traveled around the loop was the beargrass in various stages of bloom.IMG_0528

Beargrass is a relative of the much more widely known yucca plant (and also of the asparagus!), and we actually have a number of the plants growing wild in our yard (although we don’t let them get too close to the house, because they are quite flammable). In our yard, I’ve seldom, if ever, seen them bloom, but they were blooming in many places around Gomez Peak. Perhaps because of the varied terrain, in some areas the blossom stalk was just beginning to emerge, while in other places the flowers had already dropped and the fruit was forming. All of this within a mile or two!

IMG_0537The variety of blooming stages had me thinking about how our environment shapes us. We humans also develop at radically different speeds, and in different ways, even if we also dwell within a mile or two of each other. Some of that is genetics, but that old adage, “bloom where you are planted,” has a role to play here as well.IMG_0526

For example, one of my neighbors moved here from Alaska, and I cannot imagine ever living where there is so much snow and darkness. His life journey and perspective were shaped by those forces, just as surely as my journey was shaped by being a child of the desert southwest. Another neighbor grew up right here in this small town, and her experience of rural life is very different from my early years in Albuquerque, and eighteen years of living in the very urban Boston area.

IMG_0543As I continue to spend time looking at others’ websites and working on my own, I’m sometimes in awe of the well-developed online ministries of people much younger than myself. I struggle not to compare my beginner’s efforts with what they have accomplished, and it’s helpful to remind myself that each of us is called to bloom where we are planted, and that where we are planted can determine when and how we are able to bloom.

How has this been true in your life? Are you able to accept where you are planted, and the rate at which you are blooming?


Author: Shirin McArthur

I'm a spiritual guide, retreat leader, writer and editor.

4 thoughts on “Bloom as You are Able

  1. Oh my! I have lived in so many different places and each has had a profound effect on my life. But here is my ‘real’ home and I praise our Lord frequently for this place-my house, my garden, my freedom, my Church home. Thank you for an article that helps me to keep ‘things’ in perspective-I’m so very new to the Episcopal way of worship but not new to my deep faith in Christ. With Lucia by my side I feel like I can once again get out there and ‘proclaim Jesus’ saving grace’ to all and bloom where I’m planted. Thanks for your pondering


  2. You are so welcome, Nila! I’m glad that my blog connected with your experience, and that you are finding home in so many beautiful ways!



  3. I enjoyed your blog this morning Shirin, as I sat out in our rainwashed secret garden here in the midst of Nob Hill. I know exactly what you are talking about with the overflowing rain barrels and I loved how you connected it to your work. Thank you! Looks like your backyard is breathtakingly beautiful! Is that a castle on the face page? I must come visit sooooon….


  4. You’re welcome, Anita! I’m so glad you enjoyed the connections I make…and it is beautiful here…especially as the rain has turned everything greener than usual! Do come visit! The image at the top of my blog is actually a monastery in Tuscany….



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