gardening, spiritual life

Smallering and smallering

“I meant no harm. I most truly did not.
But I had to grow bigger. So bigger I got.” Dr. Seuss, “The Lorax”

The house-predecessor who designed our garden had a sense for dramatic sweeps of color. Right now, the backyard is glowing orange with Stella d’Oro lilies, trumpet vine and daisies whose blooms are so complicated they are almost fringed. Earlier blankets of white and pink perennials have ceased for the season.

For those who can see beyond the splash, however, there is an unusual beauty that is almost hidden amidst the green. All over the garden, the annuals we plant from seed are poised.

Zinnia buds are tight green balls with overlapping scales that are edged in a pigment that is nearly black. At the very center of each bud, a tiny circle appeared just this morning, revealing the first hint of each bloom’s color. Cosmos leaves are lacy and a pale, spring-like green. They are so beautiful now that, even if they never produced the swath of rose and purple and pink we anticipate, it would be worth it to grow them.

It’s true. The wild explosion of July color will be beautiful. But, “bigger” really doesn’t have that much on the earlier stages if you’re truly looking. Is full blossom really more beautiful than the nearly sculptural buds, or just more obvious? Or, what about the tiny, two-leaf sprouts that stood in stark contrast against the black soils of May? Did they not have a beauty of their own?

That’s really something to think about in today’s world. Americans in particular want full blossom, the biggest version of our dream that we can imagine. It’s practically in our DNA. We pursue that dream, connive to get it, demand action from God when our own efforts fail. And, we often not only miss the beauty of the small, we destroy it.

Lord, I don’t want to be like that. Help me to really see the beauty of right here, right now.

 

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