Pat and I love to go to the Gatlinburg area of the Smokies. Every season is a beautiful season in those mountains. But I especially like to go in the Spring to view the wildflowers. A line from Edna St. Vincent Millay describes my experiences each time I go, “I am waylaid by Beauty.”
Some years ago on a contemplative retreat I was asked (if I remember correctly) what kind of plant I would like to be, if I were a plant. Without hesitation I answered, “a wildflower.” Of all the flora in the world, I love wildflowers the most.
I believe that wildflowers can teach is some things about God. R.S. Thomas thought so as well:
It was easier to come out with you into the fields, where birds made no claim on my poor knowledge and flowers grow with no thought but to declare God.
What do they declare about God? One thing is obvious. God loves beauty. God’s love for beauty is manifest in the stunning profusion of wildflowers. In North America alone there are around 10,000 different types of wildflowers!
Another thing that wildflowers teach about God is that size really does not matter. We humans are more often impressed with bigness. Not so with God. To speak of God in human terms, God is as moved by a little stand of white Trillium
as by a majestic mountain or a deep blue sea.
On a recent hike, I found a Mayapple wildflower in bloom. You have to really look carefully for it because when God created this wildflower, the flower was made to appear under the leaves.
Only by bending down can one see this beauty. Perhaps wildflowers are intended in part to teach us about the beauty of humility.
April 22 is Earth Day. It is a good day to be thankful for the beautiful world created by God–the great Lover of Beauty. It is also a good day to renew our commitment to encouraging those in authority to protect our fragile environment.