One little Marguerite

If you would ask me what my favorite flower is

it would be a white Marguerite daisy.

Daisy

I have never told this story to anyone before.

It was in a High School art class.

You know the elective that all your friends sign up for to have a social period.  We were to bring in a real flower as part of a project. I forgot until the day it was due so ripped a white flower from off of a bush in our backyard and brought it to school wrapped in a wet paper towel.

For the assignment we were to fold a 12 by 18 in. white construction paper in half then over to the side to open into four rectangles. We were to draw our flower in each rectangle realistically, in abstraction, in cubism, and in a unique view point.

The teacher insisted that we sit for 15 minutes and study our flower and if we goofed off we would receive detention. And then she set the white egg timer clicking the time and sat down. There were a few snide comments and some giggles but soon a hush fell over the classroom.

Have you ever taken 15 minutes and stared at one flower?

 It is a long time…

At first you look at it and your mind takes a picture and you think, okay I saw it…

And then you move in to take a closer look. It was a white Marguerite daisy, I found out later. It did not have five loopy bright colored petals with a bright yellow circle center that most of us doodle on paper and gets made into a giant sticker to stick on the rear of Volkswagen Beatles. 

Every single petal narrows to the end that attaches strong into the center then tapers out to a curve which cups just a tiny bit at the end.

Each petal has hills and valley ridges that stripe the petal which change the white to different shades.

When the petals stretch out they overlap because it is crowded.

The petals feel like silky fuzzy paper.

The inside has hundreds of little curly balls clustered together and grab to a center orb.

They appear yellow but when you look closely they are a variety of golden earth tones which also change in the light.

The flower has a green stem made of long strands of vein like fibers and at the jagged end, where it was ripped from its life source, is an opaque white center that drips fluid.

At the top underneath the white petal umbrella is a star shape cup made out of green leaves with points at the tips. This cup tucks the entire flower perfectly inside to hold it upright.

The timer went ding. The chatter resumed. The class bell eventually rang and we left. I completed the assignment in a few weeks.  I loved that picture.

I grew up with a mother who spoke to flowers and a father who spoke to animals. They did not only model reverence for earth’s gifts but to be enamored by them. 

But 15 minutes with a Marguerite daisy converted me.

I believe I finally saw God as an artist

and I have been in complete admiration ever since.

A little morsel of spring to taste

Frances Hodgson Burnett’s, The Secret Garden is one of the most magical full-sense spring experiences. You will never look at nature and her healing powers the same again.

Here is just one little morsel to taste:

“A sudden thought made her scramble to her feet,

“I can’t wait! I am going to see the garden!”

…She unchained and unbolted and unlocked and when the door was open she sprang across the step with one bound, and there she was standing on the grass, which seemed to have turned green, with the sun pouring down on her and warm sweet wafts about her and the fluting and twittering and singing coming from every bush and tree. She clasped her hands for pure joy and looked up in the sky and it was so blue and pink and pearly and white and flooded with springtime light and she felt as if she must flute and sing aloud herself and knew that thrushes and robins and skylarks could not possibly help it. She ran around the shrubs and paths towards the secret garden.

“It is all different already,” she said. “The grass is greener and things are sticking up everywhere and things are uncurling and green buds on leaves are showing…”

…When she had reached the place where the door bid itself under the ivy…and she pushed the door open…

“Oh Dicken! Dickon!” she cried out. “How could you get here so early! How could you! The sun has only just got up!”

“He got up himself, laughing and glowing, and tousled; his eyes like a bit of the sky.

“Eh!” he said. “I was up long before him. How could I have stayed abed! Th’ world’s all fair begun again this mornin’, it has. An’ it’s workin’ and hummun’ and’ scratchin’ an’ pipin’ and’ nest-building’ an breathin’ out scents, till you’ve got to be out in it ‘stead o’ lyin’ on your back. When th’ sun did jump up, th’ mor went mad for joy, an’ I was in the midst of th’ heather, an’ I run like mad myself, shoutin’ an’ singing’. An’ I come straight here. I couldn’t have stayed away. Why, th’ garden was lyin’ here waitin’!”  pg. 155-157

One Big Forest Family

I love love love my forest family!

Okay, sometimes they are pests,

but what family doesn’t have pests sometimes.

Today it is  7 degrees where I live.

I am hibernating inside, but not my forest family!

The sparrows do a “cold feet” dance flitting on top of snow mounds, pecking at bird seeds that have fallen from the feeders.

My 10 dove children wait patiently on the roof of the swing set, all in a row–they coo and peck…

 The fat squirrels are the “big kids,” bossing the others with their chatters,

hanging in contorted positions to reach the food hung strategically away from them.

I lost that battle years ago!

The bright red cardinals contrast with the white snow. They are the “middle children,” who tease the squirrels, sneaking treats while they eat, and then ignore the younger sparrow brothers and sisters.

While I sip my hot chocolate, petting my lazy cat on my lap–   who also watches carefully,

I can’t help but be entertained like a mother watching her little forest children scuffle and play in the snow.

They perform for me; chattering and seemingly laughing…

I feel adopted by them somehow. They know I am here, smiling and watching–and feeding them.

And it feels comforting like one big earth family facing winter together.