Saturday, May 29, 2010

wild orchids

At this time of year, in the pond off the meadow, behind the pottery studio, there is a large stand of wild, yellow orchids which grow out of the water near the edge of the pond. This is one up close.

Its architecture is wild and untamed. The color is gentle and vibrant but the shape has a menacing quality to it - like a dragon or an alien. It seems to have order and yet, at the same time seems to grow into points and curves which defy the average hot-house flower. It looks like the kind of flower which might be the garden bully were we to anthropomorphize them into human characters -staring down the black-eyed Susan and the tulip with a withering glance.

Intimidation is a tool used in nature to control and to defend. It is the way species are protected from other species and it is the means by which domination is achieved.

This flower reminds me of the bible verse about being as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves. Nature's gentle beauty enmeshed within its immense power is a good icon to how we humans were made as well - gentle, powerful, beautiful, strong, resilient. Being good humans is nothing more than simply being how we were made.

We were made for goodness and beauty and strength. Of course life's storms can blow us over just as a terrible storm can fell a tree which crushes an orchid. These things happen. Bad things happen to good people all the time. But I am increasingly convinced that when we live open, honest lives of mutual loving care and self-loving kindness, things seem to work in the ecosystems of our lives like they do in my pond. There are occasional bad smells, some mosquitoes and even the occasional creepy snake. But in general - it is all so lovely and it all works together to sing God's glory along with the peeping frogs keeping beat with their bigger brethren and the occasional wood pecker for beet and rhythm. I agree with the mystics - on my better days: I am not sure about coincidences but I am unable not to notice that when I pray, there are a lot of them. It all is very scary, but it all seems to be working towards goodness and all we have to do to participate is to choose goodness over and over again.

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