It’s April! And Easter! And Spring! Alleluia!
I love this time of year, not as much as I love autumn, but springtime is definitely a close second. Perhaps if I didn’t suffer from an annual spring allergy each year, which always leaves me feeling miserable for about a week, or until it rains, whichever comes first, I’d love springtime more than autumn. But for now, autumn takes the prize.
Of course, it doesn’t exactly feel like spring here yet. I begrudgingly built another fire in the wood stove this morning, and most of the garden is still under plastic, and the spring warblers are only beginning to make an appearance. We’ll have snow flurries this weekend, they say, and then another warm-up. Most likely, if the forecast holds true, we’ll lose our apple crop, peach crop, pear crop and perhaps the acorn and hickory crop in the next forty-eight hours. If not, it’ll have been a close call. If so, it was bound to happen, considering the fact that we enjoyed a bumper crop last year. As with all things, not every year brings every blessing, yet somehow, we still end up with enough.
I’m a spring baby, with a birthday that usually coincides with the sneezing and sniffles of my springtime allergy, and this year did not disappoint. Right on schedule, I said goodbye to another year lived, and welcomed the next one with a handkerchief and some antihistamines. So, I suppose my husband thought I’d lost my mind when he asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and my response was “to go see wildflowers.” I figured if I was going to be miserable, I might as well be miserable doing something I love, and it takes more than a runny nose to keep me inside when I know the dead leaves on the forest floor are giving way to a carpet of color.
So we hit the trails and wandered through the woodlands of the Cumberland Plateau and Kentucky River Palisades in search of the birthday bouquet that God had prepared just for me.
Of course, it’s not just for me. I simply say that because I believe that every small beauty or good thing that comes to me is given to me by a God who loves me. But certainly not only me.
The natural world and all its beauty is for all of us, yet God makes it so grand that each of us can find the opportunity to see one particular wildflower or watch one particular sunset and believe it was made just for us.
Because God is like that.
He can create a universe and still manage to give each of us our own star to look upon. He can create a forest and give us each our own wildflower to admire.
I guess that’s why I love the natural world so much. Because it’s easy for me to feel privileged and blessed when I look upon a wildflower and know that I am the only one who sees it at that moment and perhaps, ever will see it.
That particular flower, at that particular moment, feels like it was made just for me, and perhaps, for the bumblebees.
In a world that craves self-acclamation and validation, it is comforting to know that such self-worth can be found in a wildflower.
After all, it’s hard not to feel like part of the elite when we are the only apparent witness to so much natural beauty.
And yet, the tragedy is that nearly every natural beauty on our earth has no appreciative witness, other than perhaps the angels and God himself.
But I suspect that for God, that is more than enough.
And when I think of God in that context, it really does not seem all that surprising that the most beautiful things he gives to us are things that we would never even notice if we didn’t make the effort to see them.
Birthdays can be like that; when time feels like an enemy, a birthday can hardly be seen as a blessing. My birthday has often felt like that. Waiting to be a mother to children who never come has often made my birthdays feel like a mile marker along an empty trail barren of wildflowers. I saw no beauty in being another year older.
But the truth is, God does not leave anything barren. Even the most empty, desolate-appearing desert has life just below its surface, waiting for the rain or for the coolness of night to fall before it can make its appearance.
And as I celebrate another year, I realize more than before that even when my life looks the most empty, the most barren, God is planting wildflowers along my trail.
And they will bloom...
...when the season is right.