Thursday, February 2, 2012

To Make a Garden

With my daughter, it's all about the flowers. Always has been. Even in the dead of winter.

The boys and I will be planting loblolly pines, scooping great mounds of dirt around anorexic tree trunks and stomping down the air bubbles. We'll be throwing a Frisbee across the field, looking at molded rabbit poop, tracing mud-encased deer tracks with our fingers, kicking over ant hills to find the winged ones within, or taking a nature walk through the Hundred Acre Woods.

And all the while, Amelia will be close by but oblivious in her search for flowers.

There are the little yellow strawberry-like petaled ones that trail across the ground on loose vines. The cream pointed clusters of three that leave my hands smelling of onion. Bundles of delicate purple ones lining lanky stems, limber as they sway in the breeze. White airy balls shooting straight up, stiff amongst lush clumps of green clover.

She finds them all.

Even in the culvert where the boys search for tadpoles, grasshoppers, snails and lizards, yes, even there, she manages to find a blossom or two.

The downside to all this single-mindedness is a difficulty in understanding the difference between "God's flowers" that are ok to pick and "Mommy flowers" that should be enjoyed on the plant.

One Sunday after church, she went behind Grand Mama's house for ten unsupervised minutes before bursting bright-eyed through the door, having picked every last narcissus in my mom's well-manicured flower beds. That glowing face and arm-extended gift to me were too much to chasten very harshly. Even "Mama" graciously accepted that full armload of aromatic wonder with a smile.

This afternoon, Amelia burst through my door again, eyes bright with the same excitement.

"Come look, mommy! I'm planting a garden!"Sure enough, in her daddy's sand pile by the new carport, Amelia had placed a hunk of concrete (a stepping stone, perhaps?), the much coveted plastic rabbit, and a flower pot. At her feet was "planted" a bundle of purple wild flowers "so they will grow."

The thing about creating a garden? To make one, first you must look past the store-bought Latin-named plants enclosed in rock-walled flower beds and see the garden around you.

You must learn to see God's beauty and holy handiwork in mere weeds.

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