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With hearts like wildflowers
A Note from the Editor

Back in college, I took horticulture as an elective one semester. I remember that class well, partly (mostly) because University of Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford was in it, too. (I’m aging myself here.) It was the closest I’d come to laying eyes on a verifiable celebrity since the eighth grade, when our class caught a glimpse of the back of the heads of some Hootie and the Blowfish band members on our plane ride home from a field trip to New York City. 

I’ve lived a thrilling life.

Anyway, as part of one of our lessons in horticulture, I recall learning about the most basic definition of a weed — essentially, a wild plant that is growing in a place where it isn’t wanted.

It's been years, but I’ve never forgotten that. I suppose what has stayed with me most is the idea of defining the value of something based solely on someone’s feelings toward it. Weeds are unworthy, unwanted and unwelcome, simply because someone says they are.

Of course, there are plenty of other factors to consider when classifying a plant, and an oversimplified definition fails to take into account things like whether it’s native or invasive, hazardous or harmless, toxic or medicinal. Still, I can’t help but to appreciate the traits weeds share. They flourish in the harshest environments, without any help or human intervention. They’re able to withstand both drought and storm. Though many call them worthless, weeds remain firmly planted, quite sure of what they were created to be. They’re hardy, prolific — and often beautiful.

For generations, wildflowers have found ways to adapt in order to thrive, regardless of where they take root. Whether they’re weeds is a matter of perspective — those dandelions in your yard that you curse and battle each year are prized finds to a young child eager to blow their fluffy heads and make a wish, a valuable source of pollen and nectar for foraging honeybees in early spring. And, weeds or not, wildflowers play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

The first week of May is National Wildflower Week, a time set aside to appreciate both the beauty and importance of wildflowers across the United States. In this issue, we’re celebrating in our own unique way by highlighting four local women who have hearts like wildflowers: Sarah Taylor, Presley Terry, Raymona Lawrence and Melissa White. Firmly planted in Bulloch County, these women have shown incredible strength and resilience as they’ve pushed through some dark days in order to reach the sun. 

Steadfast, perennial and so very lovely, their worth is beyond measure — of this, I am sure.

I hope you are blessed with a heart like a wildflower.

 Strong enough to rise again after being trampled upon, 

Tough enough to weather the worst of the summer storms,

 And able to grow and flourish even in the most broken places.

—Nikita Gill