Back in February 2013, I posted the picture of ‘A mysterious seedhead’ that I had found blowing around in my friends garden. (Pop it in the ‘I am searching for…’ box in the sidebar, and you’ll find the original post.) Someone helpfully responded, and I learned that it was a Chinese lantern seed pod, (Physalis alkekengi), sometimes known as Bladder cherry, Japanese lantern, or Winter cherry, and a relative of the Cape gooseberry. I thought that maybe it had fallen off a discarded Christmas decoration, because it’s not the sort of exotic plant my friend would normally grow! The seed pod has been sitting on my study windowsill for nearly two years, and when I cleared my desk the other day I noticed it again. The pod skeleton is still completely intact, still flexible, and feels incredibly tough and durable for something that is so finely veined and looks so delicate. The dried up seed is still trapped inside, but when I really look, I can see that it is actually a clump of seeds stuck closely together.
It struck me that part of us can sometimes be a bit like that little clump of seeds, all dried up, unable to escape, unable to flourish and grow, desperately clinging on to what is familiar. We may be trapped in a situation or even a particular mindset, that prevents, or at the very least, impedes our escape. It can become such a way of life or habit for us, that we don’t even notice how trapped we have become. When we do realise, we need to make a conscious decision to change, and break out of our comfort zone. Then life opens up and like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, we can start to fly.