We planted this peony in front of the house a few years back. No one knew for certain what color it would be or its future size, so we stuck it in the ground and watched it grow. And grow. And it never blossomed. For the past couple years, we've talked about pulling it out of the ground since it mostly resembles a glorious weed.
But what is it about mirrors? You put one in front of an animal and it reacts --- even an animal that ought to know better. Dogs and cats generally become aggressive toward the unknown encroacher. Great apes become curious and experimental... much like children.
That's what happened when my son's Tae Kwon Do school moved into a new space. Along with new mats and other gear, the new space has floor-to-ceiling mirrors along one wall. Before and after each class, the students have a short bit of free time during which they greet each other with the traditional nod or screech, run about happily, and interact with their reflections. If only my grandmother were here to say, "You know, if you keep doing that, your face will freeze that way."
And then class begins. A small group of these children will test for their black belts soon --- my son included. They have been studying for five or more years, practicing every day. These young men and women face the mirror with a commitment beyond expectation. Like so many others who have struggled toward a goal, their reflections echo those years of effort.
That peony in front of our house surprised us this year with beautiful tiny white blossoms.