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  • Writer's pictureBetty Girardeau


Such a positive word: volunteers. The dictionary defines it as "a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task." But I know it as a word with a much broader meaning. I think of it meaning almost anything that shows up unexpectedly to add something positive to the world and life. This makes the term inclusive of both people and plants. This summer I was surprised by a volunteer zinnia sprouting up in what I always had considered a small spot that would likely not be good for any flowers to thrive because it was not be easy to water and received too much of the summer sun. I decided to leave the plant alone and just see how it would do. As you can see, it is thriving. This is just one zinnia plant, too, which now, even in the current 90 degree plus heat and several weeks of drought, is flowering and budding in profusion. It is right at the corner of my driveway and front walk and just outside of my garage door. It has been fun to watch it grow. I never knew that the flowers on a single zinnia plant could actually be different colors either. But while this one so far has tended to have orange or red blooms, at least one bloom has been hot pink. If you look up the benefits of volunteering you will find that, among other things, it helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety, decreases depression, and makes you happy. I have to say that seeing this lovely flower happily growing and flowering in what I considered an inhospitable location certainly has done that for me. It's interesting, too, to realize that something in nature can remind and teach us of better ways to live our own lives and makes real the quote "Bloom where you have been planted." I wonder if my zinnia will volunteer again next year? I hope so.

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