The Common in the Rare

I always thought that crocuses were rare things, endangered things. A source of early spring delight, always, for their brave appearance long before any other bloom is a sure sign that winter is truly on its way out.

I’ve only ever seen crocuses in small, lonely bunches, a few blooms huddled together, half-hidden among grass that has yet to go green. This spring, I went up to the Sidehill to look for some on “the hill.” I found a few, isolated clumps of them, each discovery inspiring a thrill of excitement.

Then I wandered a little farther afield, into the adjoining pasture land, a place of native prairie. And stopped. For on either side of me was a carpet of crocus, hundreds of them. More than I ever thought could have existed in one place at one time. A flower so fragile as to be rare almost everywhere thrives here.

And I wondered why I hadn’t known about this place before. In all my years of wandering in those hills, how had I not known that this was a place of abundance for the delicate, prairie crocus? Had I truly lived through so many dull springs, some of them with an utter absence of crocuses?

Or did they come out just for me just this once, never to be seen in such profusion again? How will I know except to wait through another long winter, and make sure that I get up in those hills at just the right time again. To see if what is rare can be common.

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