“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.” ~Henry Beecher

Monday, August 31, 2009

Divinity in Nature

After two cool, rainy days, the sun finally broke yesterday and I went for a hike. My intention was to get in a good, strenuous workout by briskly maneuvering my way through some of the hilly trails in the area. So I set out from home with my hiking shoes, my water bottle, and my camera towards East Rock Park. When I reached the base of the park, I noticed some flowers growing wild along the road, so I stopped to admire them. They were small and looked a bit like dandelions, but with a much more vibrant yellow color. Close by were different flowers, so I walked over to enjoy them as well. Small, daisy-like blossoms with either a red or yellowish center. When I finally looked up, instead of heading for the hill, I chose another nearby path where I could climb down to the water. Yet another type of flower was growing along the shore and found at the base of some trees was a bushy, green moss that felt like a comfortable carpet. I stopped to look at lily pads sunbathing just below the surface of the water, an inchworm dangling in front of me, acorns that had fallen to the ground, ferns and trees whose limbs had grown into elaborate braids or had spiraled upwards around the trunk of another tree.

My brisk hike never actually happened because I spent almost two hours staring at the beauty around me in the wild. In fact, when I stopped and really looked, it was as if I was seeing so many things for the first time and I was fascinated and inspired. For example, have you ever really looked at the plant below?

I never had until today, but what I saw was remarkable. Clusters of tiny eggs that looked like they had just burst open their pods were perfectly spaced and oriented, displaying a distinct pattern along the length of the green stem that gradually altered their length and distance from one another to form an elegant taper as they reached the tip. There is a method to this level of perfection and scientists are working to understand just how these type of patterns form, not just in plants but in other organisms such as flies, worms and mice, to better understand the developmental process. The complexity of these processes is nothing short of a miracle. Their blueprint lies dormant in a seed until it’s given the signal to create this magnificent work of art on nature’s canvas. This is just one example of the beauty I saw today and I've posted more here.

Although we can’t take the credit for these gifts, it’s wonderful that such beauty can be replicated as the pattern on my summer dress, or decorate an accent pillow on the sofa or be the inspiration for the shape of a vase or lampshade. Mother nature (whatever that divine force is) is responsible for the miracles we are fortunate enough to see if we just take the time to look. We should be so grateful that they’re here for us to enjoy. I returned home from my walk peaceful and content and realized that sometimes we discover the greatest treasures when we veer off the road, take the wrong path, or stop in our tracks. Treasures that may even enrich the remainder of our journey.

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