Here in Brisbane, one of my favourite times of year is mid-August, when the jasmine on my patio blooms. It has the most exquisite, sweet scent, and it accompanies the cool, sunny days that characterise the end of winter here in the subtropics. It’s in full bloom in early September when my kids have their birthdays, and a few weeks later the flowers are falling off and the leaves are turning brown. I prune it back and wait another year.
But this morning, mid-October as the gardenias are budding, I found some late bloomers. I inhaled their scent hungrily, then took this photo.
I was a late bloomer in every sense of the word. I stilled played with my dollhouse in the first year of high school, until one of the other girls told me that it was lame. I was puzzled and sometimes horrified by the things my teenage peers talked about and did. I gained a reputation for being the biggest “dag” in my grade (if not the school). I flunked almost everything at high school and spent a very long time working in fast food jobs and typing jobs.
In fact, I’d say that I didn’t really blossom until my mid-twenties. I went back to school and finished my senior, got into uni, started writing books, and haven’t looked back. It seems to me there is so much pressure on children/teenagers to decide on a career and embark on a course of study that some of them are just not mentally and emotionally ready for. I hope my kids—who show signs of being late bloomers themselves—can go at their own pace, make a few mistakes, then find something that they are genuinely passionate about when the time is right for them. After all, there is that lovely surprise of finding a late bloomer, blossoming prettily on the dying vine, long after the crowd has moved on.