The wildflower challenge

Two weeks ago at this time, we were in upstate New York visiting Scott’s parents.  We managed to arrive just days after the nasty  heatwave that fried the eastern part of the country, which was fortunate because it meant we got to fully enjoy the out-of-doors: Otsego Lake, the grassy point where the boys went swimming, my in-laws’ deck, and the wildflowers.

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When you live in the suburbs of the San Francisco Bay Area, you don’t get to see a lot of wildflowers.  They make an appearance on the hills along the freeway in spring, splashes of orange poppies and purple lupine-like blooms, but it’s a brief flowering and then they’re gone.

So it seems gloriously wonderful to live in a place like rural upstate New York, where you can step out your front door on a summer’s day and be greeted by a population explosion of flowers in pink, white, and mauve.

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The bees seem to love the flowers as much as I do (I took this photo at great personal risk).

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On my last evening in New York, I picked a few blooms and brought them inside and made a little bouquet, which my sister-in-law put in the middle of the breakfast table the next morning.   They looked as beautiful indoors as out.  It gave me such a thrill to go out the front door and pick flowers that I didn’t plant myself.  It made me feel like Anne of Green Gables or Laura Ingalls Wilder or some other heroine in a sunbonnet and high-button shoes.

Literary associations aside, maybe part of the reason why I love those wildflowers is because they are such a sign of abundance.   They’re like grace growing along the side of the road; a beautiful gift, given in armfuls, over and over.  No one has to do anything to plant or water or maintain them.  They are simply there.

I’m back home now, where there are no wildflowers.  But there are other kinds of graces here, aren’t there?  And as summer vacation nears its end and a new work year begins, that’s my challenge: to be open to the abundance I find all around me, wherever I am and whatever form it takes.

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