The Strength of a Tiny Idea

Out on a walk this Monday, I spied this little fern pushing up through asphalt. A minor miracle, if I do say so myself. How did something this tender, this delicate, push up through something so hard?

Perhaps the asphalt had just been rolled down, and the fern was able to push through the still-soft layer? But wait, wouldn’t the heat from the newly-laid asphalt have burned the little guy? Or perhaps the warmth of the cooling asphalt gave the sprout some extra-max-jumbo-strength, and the plant was able to burst through on some sort of organic turbo-jets? Or perhaps there was a bubble or a crack in the asphalt, and the fern-let took the opportunity to navigate towards the sun?

Whatever truly happened, I couldn’t help but see an analogy to the creative process—a new idea is fragile, yes, but can also be strong. If given the right circumstances, a small idea can push back great resistance—inner critic voices, lifestyle restraints, financial bounds, embodied traumas, or more.

For me, my tiny idea was a story, a story about my grandparents. My dedication to this story has propelled me to travel overseas, end jobs, start writing programs, build a business, sell a business, and restructure many relationships. My story isn’t even fully written yet—just like this fern has yet to unfurl—but like the fern, my idea is adjusting in relationship with my resistance, slowly finding my own way to grow into maturity.

What is your tiny, fragile idea? Can you hear it whispering? Do you believe in it, enough, to help it push through your own version of solid asphalt?