She’s a southern lady by birth. She is naturally lovely in her preferred climate, but she can be equally as beautiful and charming when transplanted to northern areas if done carefully and delicately.
During the summer, she usually wears lavender or pink or white; in the fall, she sports the warm colors of the season. Her stylishness belies her strength, however. She is no shrinking violet or even a pansy that cannot stand the heat. Many a time she has been cut, and many a time she has grown back even more beautiful than before. Her strength is phenomenal, despite her occasionally arthritic joints.
Sometimes those who love her will notice that her epidermis begins to peel. Growing concerned, they consult experts because they think she has some sort of condition or disease. They are afraid she might even be dying. They want to help, but the specialists tell them not to panic or worry. They say, “Do not interfere! There’s nothing wrong with her! This process is normal. Just let it run its course.”
Those who love her are reassured by those who have researched. They learn that only the mature one will undergo this peeling process. In the summer she is lovely, in the fall she is vibrant, but in the winter . . . ahh . . . in the winter she will reveal her own unique pattern of colors, colors that have lain hidden all these years under the outer layer of youth. Those who have admired her in the past will be even more taken with her winter beauty, as she stands like a magnificent sculpture, displaying the creative genius of the artist who formed her.
Those who have studied the nature of this particular southern lady say, “Just wait. Leave her alone. Be patient. In the winter, after this peeling process, you will see her true colors . . . and they will be beautiful!”
Her name is Myrtle. Crepe Myrtle. Finally, she is mature. She has flowered in summer. She has shone in autumn. She has no fear of winter, for she knows a secret.
The truest beauty lies beneath the bark.