It hasnt been a good spring, especially for wild flower stalking. It has been too cold, mostly. I have froze my butt off at every one of Marcelas soccer games. Perched up on the ice-cold aluminum bleachers at the high school, a cold wind whipping off the river, it felt more like fall. None of this basking in the warm sunshine stuff you'd expect on a spring day.
There was one weekend when it was sunny and warm - but then a week later it snowed!
There were maybe one or two warm days after that, but I was in the middle of a project back then, and didnt have time for leisurely walks through the park. So when we got to the park the other day I was afraid that we had missed it. The wildflowers, that is.
I hoped not.
Wildflowers are such amazing things. They are so unassuming. They are not all big and showy, they dont scream, Look at me! They just quietly grow along the path, beside fallen trees, just little flecks of color scattered in patches along the trail. But stop and look at them closely, and they are absolutely amazing. They are so pure, such incredible, delicate detail. Each tiny flower is this quiet, breathtaking wonder of creation...
...and so easy to just walk by without even noticing.
And they dont hang around very long either. Here in the north central part of the US, they come in waves. First come the spring beauties, the bloodroots and the Dutchmans breeches. Later come the deep yellow and green wild oats, then shooting stars, and by the time the Solomon's seal and wild geraniums come up, you know the show is just about over.
There is a little hollow along the drive in the park that every year is a riot of bluebells (though the last few years, the prisoners have been escaping. Bluebells making a break for it!). But if you want to see them, get there too soon or too late and youve missed them.
Funny how that is. I am sure there is a lesson there. A lesson God built in, something like, Life is incredibly wonderful, but its gone in a moment - stop and look or youll miss it!
Something like that.
So this year I was afraid we had mostly missed it. And sure enough, when Dani and I had parked the car and walked across the road to the path that winds through the woods, we spotted a wild geranium. Missed it.
I guess I wont be getting any good pictures this year, I said. Rats.
The May apples were still around. They are fun. It always looks to me like the fairies and elves are setting up for an evening garden party. But May apples arent very photogenic, and this year they were looking a bit withered and droopy from the cold spring.
So, like I good Cubs fan, I said, Wait till next year.
There were still some scattered shooting stars, a few sorry looking wild oats, and patches of spring beauties here and there. So a couple of times I stopped and crawled on my knees through the composting leaves and emerging greenery to take a few pictures. But nothing seemed very promising.
The narrow path through the woods wanders down from higher ground to the river, and as we got to the bottom of the hill we came on a small patch of bluebells still hanging in there. I guess we hadnt missed everything after all.
They were looking a little weather-worn too. But I managed to get a couple of good pictures. Well, they looked pretty good on the cameras tiny LED screen anyway.
So, as far as that went, our expedition wasnt a total washout. Just being out in the woods on a spring day, even if it is a cool one, is blessing enough.
A stop at Dairy Queen for a chocolate Reeses Blizzard didnt hurt either!
We got back home and I plugged my cheap digital camera into the computer, anxious to see if I had gotten anything good. Surprise! There were a couple of nice pictures after all.
I went back to the park again yesterday afternoon, and the show is definitely winding down. Mostly all thats left are the wild geranium, some Solomons seal, and this year lots of Jack-in-the-pulpits. Jack-in-the-pulpits are whimsical little flowers, arent they. What an imagination God has! I wonder if it was fun thinking all this stuff up. Did he stop and smile to himself whenever he came up with a particularly good idea? I would have.
The world really is an amazing place.
I have been thinking about that lately. I know it seems obvious, but when you think it out, the world really WANTS to be good. It wants to be spectacular. I think of blazing sunsets, the Rocky Mountains, and the brilliance of the stars on a clear summer night. I think of a newborn baby, the smile of my little girl as she slept all snuggled in her bed. The world WANTS to be filled with wonder and beauty. It is only when things aren't right, when things are out of whack, that there is ugliness and pain and suffering.
It is not the other way around!
The world isnt by nature a terrible place. It is not only by chance or some fluke that there are moments of goodness. When something bad happens, it is because something has gone wrong. Its not how its supposed to be.
Which says to me so clearly that the world really is supposed to be good. It is supposed to be full of life and joy and happiness.
That was the idea right from the start. Of course, thats just what the Bible says. Right at the very beginning it says over and over, And God saw that it was good. Love and goodness is at the heart of everything that is.
There is wonder and beauty everywhere.
It's just that we keep messing it up.
We're not too bright sometimes. Me, most of the time.
But, what a wonderful time Spring is. Too bad it is over so quickly!
© 2005 Paul Dallgas-Frey