Bloom Where You Are Planted

I am an Oregon native and a transplant to Utah. My family and I moved here after nearly seven years in Boise, Idaho, and a humid summer spent living in Manassas, Virginia before officially arriving in Draper one hot August day nine years ago.

I was “home grown” in a small town in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, the land of strawberries, Marionberries, sweet corn, mint, green beans and grass seed.  My town was largely a farming community where kids picked strawberries or cut broccoli for summer jobs, or as they got older, they’d drive combines on farms or work at the local cannery to save money for college. My grandfather had been a successful farmer there, starting with just three acres that he and my grandmother used a horse and tools to pull stumps from before planting their first crops early in their marriage. Their farm grew to 400 acres and 500 employees at its peak.

Though he was retired when I knew him, my grandpa was never one to sit still. He’d make daily trips to the farm and I would sometimes accompany him as he’d deliver fresh corn and beans that he’d hand-picked to friends and family in the area, simply for the sake of being kind and for the chance to connect with those he cared about. The recipients always greeted him with smiles, grateful for his kindness and excited about the fresh produce. Nearly two decades since my grandfather passed away, my husband still says his corn on the cob was like candy, the sweetest he’s ever tasted.

Sadly, I didn’t inherit my grandpa’s green thumb. Beyond having some colorful flowers in pots to adorn our patio for spring and summer, I’m afraid I’m not a gardener of any kind. But I’ve realized I am my own kind of gardener in that I’ve learned the art of blooming where I’m planted. I’ve worked to put down roots and seek happiness as a transplant to the places I’ve lived since leaving Oregon.

Ours is a different generation. Rather than staying close to home to take over the family farm or business, many of us move to where job opportunities take us. While my parents have lived in the same house for over 40 years, I’m in my fourth home in 20 years of marriage. Given Utah’s strong job economy and Draper’s booming growth, many new people will be transplanting themselves here as well. Summer is prime time for both fresh produce and moving, as families look to get their children settled before a new school year begins.

Growing up, I naively though I’d always live in Oregon. But I’ve come to appreciate things about each of the places I’ve lived. While I still don’t care for the really hot days of Utah summers or the icy winters here, and while I still love a good rainstorm for how green and fresh it makes things, I have learned to admire and appreciate the beauty of the surrounding mountains, I’ve learned to ski, and my family and I have enjoyed several beautiful white Christmases here. I’ve also learned the lesson that there are good people wherever you go.

So if you’re new to Draper, welcome! We hope you’ll find happiness in putting down roots here. I’d encourage you to “plug in,” not electronically, but socially, to the place you now live. Introduce yourself to your neighbors, volunteer with your church or your children’s school, or join an exercise class or an organization that you’d enjoy so you can make new acquaintances. It takes time for a new place to feel like home. But, in time, it can happen. To bloom where you’re planted grows happiness.

And if you’re a native or someone who’s established roots here already, introduce yourself and welcome the newcomers, perhaps even with an offering of fresh flowers or produce from your garden.

My family and I now realize that if a job was to move us away from the life we’ve built in Draper, there are many things and people that we’d miss upon leaving. I guess that’s the sign of having succeeded at blooming while here.