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Just like bluebells, we will bloom again

Mertensia virginica, commonly known as Virginia bluebells, are always a welcome sight for my family. We wait all year for them to arrive.

Finally, early spring rolls around and the forest behind our house is suddenly bursting with thousands and thousands of pale blue flowers.

The bluebells at our house bloom in large clusters right by the Appomattox River. The experience of walking through the woods becomes comparable to a fairy tale. Little butterflies and bumblebees flutter about as you walk through a sea of blue petals. Some flowers come out baby pink, and one in every 10,000 or so blooms with a bright, white color.

Last Sunday I took a tiny break from the stress of this pandemic to go tour the bluebells. The day was warm. The birds were chirping. The river was flowing. It was extraordinarily therapeutic.

The thing about the bluebells is that they are fleeting beauties. They bloom for only a few weeks in the very early spring before quickly growing dormant again. It is extremely difficult to time their debut correctly, and there have been a few years where we miss the blooms altogether. At other times, a harsh winter severely diminishes the bloom.

The bluebells get to show themselves off to the world for just a few weeks before vanishing. They hide underground for the rest of the year, not dead, but dormant, waiting for the next time they can come out again.

When I was sitting in the forest Sunday, surrounded by those flowers, I realized that I had learned two things from the bluebells in my life.

Waiting for something can be hard, especially when you don’t know when it will come.

Waiting for this outbreak to come to an end, for things to get back to normal, it is exhausting. It feels like a long, harsh winter. You want to see your friends, to go to restaurants, to visit family.

But all that waiting is well worth it and serves a purpose. We are braving the storm now so that better days can come. We are protecting ourselves and others, even if it means a long wait.

Sometimes dormancy is necessary in order to bloom.

Sure, having to stay at home and distance yourself from others is tough. You just want to poke your head out, enjoy the sunlight, and get back to the world around you. We do not know when we’ll be allowed to finally spring back up, but when we do the sun will still shine, the birds will still chirp. The wait will have all been worth it.

Alexa Massey is a staff reporter for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. Her email address is Alexa.Massey@FarmvilleHerald.com.