The hills were alive with wildflowers and I
Was as wild, even wilder than they
For at least I could run
They just died in the sun
And I refused to just wither in place

Just a wild mountain rose
Needing freedom to grow
So I ran fearing not where I’d go
When a flower grows wild
It can always survive
Wildflowers don’t care where they grow

And the flowers I knew
In the fields where I grew
Were content to be lost in the crowd
They were common and close
I had no room for growth
And I wanted so much to branch out

So I uprooted myself from my home ground and left
Took my dreams and I took to the road
When a flower grows wild
It can always survive
Wildflowers don’t care where they grow

I grew up fast and wild
And I never felt right
In a garden so different from me
I just never belonged
I just longed to be gone
So the garden one day set me free

I hitched a ride with the wind
And since he was my friend
I just let him decide where we’d go
When a flower grows wild
It can always survive
Wildflowers don’t care where they grow

Just a wild rambling rose seeking mysteries untold
No regret for the path that I chose
When a flower grows wild
It can always survive
Wildflowers don’t care where they grow

Wildflowers don’t care where they grow

Dolly Parton

To the unsuspecting listener, the song might sound like another whimsical country number. But the deeper message? Wildflowers are the ultimate non-conformists of the flora world. They don’t wait for someone to plant them in fancy pots or provide them with organic, gluten-free soil. They just bloom, wherever the wind scatters them.

The world is littered with places where we “should” or “shouldn’t” grow. It’s societal pots that dictate our form and boundaries. But if wildflowers listened to such whims, would they be as wildly beautiful and free?

Now, I’m not saying we should all go out and start sprouting wherever we please, but there’s something liberating in Dolly’s message. Life isn’t about waiting for the perfect conditions. It’s about taking what you’ve got and making it work. It’s like buying an assemble-it-yourself bookshelf and ending up with a wonky piece of art. The instructions were in Swedish, and your furniture now leans like the Tower of Pisa—but it’s uniquely yours.

I can’t help but think of my oldest friend, Jerry. He’s one the smartest and funniest people in my life—and his journey is a testament to the wildflower spirit. From our childhood days, Jerry’s creativity and talent were unmatched. His chosen path? Theater—a field not for the faint-hearted. There were storms, of course. Moments when the winds of doubt and challenge threatened to uproot his dreams. But like a resilient wildflower, Jerry persevered. His resilience wasn’t just born from ambition but from an inherent understanding that sometimes, thriving means adapting to the unpredictable.

Jerry’s success as a theater director didn’t come from following conventional paths or waiting for perfect opportunities to land at his feet. He created opportunities where none seemed to exist, much like wildflowers that sprout in unlikely places. His story isn’t just about success—it’s about thriving against odds, about being unapologetically himself in a world that often favors conformity.

So as I sit with my morning coffee, musing over the state of my indoor plants—notably less wild than Jerry’s theatrical escapades—I’m struck by the essence of Dolly’s wildflowers. They, like Jerry, don’t conform to the prescribed plots of life. They flourish in their own unique, sometimes haphazard, glory. It’s in these moments, amidst my less-than-wild flora, that I appreciate the true meaning of blooming where you’re planted.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.