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The Way the Wildflowers Grow

The Way the Wildflowers Grow

Editor’s Note: Happy Earth Day! In this poem, Julia Pinto, a missioner on the US-Mexico Border region, reflects on the ever-changing and adaptable nature of desert wildflowers. Through verse, Julia compares herself to these wildflowers, and shares how her experience on mission has forever changed her and her way of life. 

Cholla cactus blooming in early spring, giving life to a mostly colorless landscape. I took this shot because the flowers stood out drastically along the two-mile hike.

Experience has taught me
that flowers are more special
in the desert.
They are resilient
and stand out
among the greenish-yellowish
brown landscape.

Beautiful roses,
red tips atop the Ocotillo plants,
yellow Cholla cactus blossoms,
white bouquets on the Soaptree Yucca.

I am convinced
that flower buds grow differently
in the heat and dryness of the desert
than in the fertile conditions
of the places in which I have lived.

Some may not look like much,
compared to fields of tulips
or clusters of lilies or daffodils.
Against my past achievements,
possessions, or lifestyles,
I am not prospering
in the eyes of the world.

God chose to plant me
here in the Sonoran desert.
This land is not my normal environment;
and yet, I can adapt
like the magnificent flora and fauna
that somehow thrive
in these harsh realities.


I look at my community,
many transplants adapting
to their changed surroundings,
and see them flourish.
Their elasticity and strength
give me courage
to embrace new places, peoples,
ways of life.

God clothes the grass of the plains.
All sorts of beautiful, flowering plants
spreading throughout the desert.
Purple, pink, yellow, orange.
Nobody tends to them but the Lord.
“Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.”

It’s not my doing.
I show up with my weakness,
and God sends kind people,
guidance, and extra energy,
as the refreshing rain,
sunshine, and nutrients
to strengthen my fragile roots
and help me to thrive here.

Blooming, I believe,
means being content
with the circumstances
in which I find myself
here on mission,
and discovering ways
to add to the strange beauty
around me.

Reflection Question: How have you responded to where you have been planted? How can you shift your perspective on what it means to bloom where you are?

Julia graduated from The University of Texas at Dallas in May 2015 with a BS in Mathematics and a Math Teacher Certification at the ripe age of 20. She taught Geometry, Algebra 2, Precalculus and Statistics for four years in a public high school in Richardson, Texas, as well as another year in a private school in Takoma Park, Maryland. Julia’s desire to serve and minister like St. Francis drew her to Washington D.C. to work as a Publications and Communications Associate with the US Catholic Mission Association through the DC Service Corps program, where she researched and helped support various mission organizations around the world. This call to mission now pushes Julia to venture beyond D.C. to serve as a missioner on the US-Mexico border. In her free time, Julia enjoys reading, working out, dancing, meeting strangers, and solving all kinds of puzzles.