The forget-me-not (Myosotis) is one of my favorite little spring flowers, and I think it received its name for a very valid reason. I don’t know who named it, but I know it’s a very old name. In the German tongue it was known as Vergissmeinnict and received a literal translation into the English language as “forget me not.”
Henry IV used this flower as his symbol while he was in exile in 1398 so he would not be forgotten. There are also many medieval stories about it symbolizing faithfulness as well as ancient Greek legends and many poems throughout the ages. It seems everyone has been taken by this little flower.
At first I thought nothing of the name at all. I knew that was its name and didn’t really think at all why it should be so. It was such a small flower, and there were more dramatic blooms to capture my imagination. Then the years began to pass--and they passed and passed still--and the forget-me-not began to take on a new meaning for me. You might say I had to grow into it, and the more I “grew” into it, the more I realized that age is a very significant part in understanding and appreciating this flower.
The forget-me-not is one of the earliest flowers found, and it is very low to the ground. It is not dramatic and striking like daffodils and tulips. It’s small and easy to miss. But one day in early spring you will find yourself out walking. It will still be rather cool outside, and a bit of greenery will be starting to appear here and there, but it will certainly not be the massive green of late spring and summer. You will walk and your mind will wander as it always does, and you will come to dwell on an event in your past. You will become wrapped up in it. Perhaps there will be joy; perhaps there will be regret. You will be lost in your thoughts with your eyes low to the ground.
And then you will see the forget-me-not. It will be a mass of tiny blueness on the ground, sweet and innocent and pretty, and you will smile and go on your way. You will forget about the forget-me-nots that you saw. After all, they are only tiny “nothing flowers.” Here and there you will see them, almost always when you are deep in thought, and then again, you will forget them.
The next year you will be walking once again. You will be thinking again. In that strange way that the forget-me-not has, you might and you might not see them again in the same spot. That is because some forget-me-nots are perennials (come back yearly) and some are annuals (live and die in the same year). And you never know which is which. Just when you get used to seeing the forget-me-not, it leaves, only to show up in a completely different place, sometimes several feet away, sometimes several yards away. The forget-me-not has the strangest habit of showing up when and where you least expect it.
It’s no use feeling bad when you are looking forward to seeing them and they don’t come back the following year. They have a mind of their own, and if you will only walk and think and reminisce, they are sure to pop up somewhere along your path in a place you least expect. When you see them, you will come to know how precious your memories are. You will say to yourself, “Oh, there you are! I have been looking for you!” And you will smile and go on your way, knowing that your memory is safe.
Every year the forget-me-not comes back in one way or another. Here and there it makes a brief appearance to remind us that spring is back, that life does go on after the bitter winters of the Earth and the even bitterer winters of our own souls. It’s the tiny flower that searches for you to let you know that you have not been forgotten either.