Once upon a time, there was a kind girl, and she loved the world, and the weirdness of it. She was fascinated by the people in, in all their weird glorious wonderfulness. She saw things differently, the way the sun glinted through the leaves of the trees, how the wind seemed to speak ancient languages, and how goldenrod really was made out of gold, she could see the specks of it in it’s petals in the late summer sunset. She was very much a goldenrod, happy and full of love for those around her and full of nectar for butterflies.
And then this girl grew up, and she was hurt a time or two, and she was chastised for her weirdness, and told she would never get a job being weird, or amount to anything so she hid her weirdness away, and did what she was told to do, what respectable non weird girls do. But she felt awful. Then she met someone when she was very young and confused, and did the right thing that non-weird people do, they get married.
And she was unhappy.
So unhappy she wanted to leave. But that of course would upset the normal apple cart of all the normal people she knew, and she was normal now, or so she had been told to believe, so she stayed, and listened to years of words and rip away at…her beautiful weirdness, and she became like a thistle, covered in thorns. Each word, lodged against her, each hand raised in anger because she could not be who he wanted her to be, normal like him. Each word spoken against her turned into a thorn on the stalk that was a Goldenrod. And after many years, the Goldenrod in her was replaced by Thistle, and she was impossible to touch. This was done so that she couldn’t be hurt again. But inside…she had the softest resplendent purple down. Eventually she left that man, but she was changed, she left as a thistle plant instead of the goldenrod she really was.
When she least expected it, she met a man that reminded her of something she knew. Something that reminded her of late summer, in the fields where goldenrod was abundant and butterflies floated for hours in the tall grass and asters of her childhood. He was weird, like her, and when she was weird, he liked it. And she was filled with joy when she realized he was a Goldenrod too! And this surprised her and scared her, because the world disliked her weirdness and she had turned her into a thistle. She was just remembering how to be a Goldenrod, and transformation is a slow process. 15 years to become a thistle.
And he loved her. And she loved him.
Within a small amount of time she began to show her soft resplendent purple down to him, and this made her very happy. The happiest she’d ever been, to be known, truly known, for what was underneath her skin. That there was softness there…and that they both had Goldenrod hearts.
But she had become a thistle, and she hurt him. Over and over and over again. And with each poke, a thorn disappeared, this is what he gave her, his life…so that she could lose a thorn…and be reminded again that she was a Goldenrod. But with each poke he bled, and a little bit of poison that made her into a thistle entered into him… and she hurt because he hurt. She did not have the sight to see her thorns, because they had become a part of her.
Then one night, he stumbled up on her biggest thorn, her biggest hurt, and she pricked him with all her fury in defense…not because she wanted to hurt him…but of what had been done to her.
And they both bled.
And the man did not visit her anymore, because he could not survive loving a thistle…
And the truth was she could not survive being one, and she did not want to be a toxic thistle who hurt people anymore. A toxic thistle who hurt the Goldenrod that still lay inside the thistle she had become.
So in late summer, when Thistles are at their zenith, she asked the creator to cut her down. And he did, and planted what was left of her in good soil, with a Goldenrod seed in her heart, and day by day, she grows, fed by him. And day by day she becomes a goldenrod again.