Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Trailing arbutus ... or May flowers
When I was a young and curious girl, I had a gentle uncle who loved nature and caring for the earth. He taught me about bee nests and the tides, and he showed me a tiny marvel of nature which most people never, ever get to see. One sunny Sunday morning in early May when there still a bit of snow on the ground in the edges of the woods, we set out for a walk of discovery. Well, he knew where he was going ... :)
It seemed a long walk for a little girl - through a long field, across the highway, and to the woods. We arrived to the edge of the forest and entered, he clearing branches out of the way, ensuring a safe path for me. He told me he was going to show me "how to find may flowers".
Not far into the woods, after some careful exploring, suddenly he knelt down and told me to do the same. Here he showed me deep green, woodsy leaves, their edges drying and brown. I touched the waxy leaves ... Then he pulled on a bunch and pulled up from beneath the tiniest, most exquisitely scented blooms - no larger than a centimeter at the most - bunched up in a sprig, all white and pink.
They trail protected below, hiding beneath their leaves. They like damp, low lying wooded areas. One can make a nice bouquet which will sweetly scent your kitchen for days. I do worry that the deforestation is putting them at risk of extinction. Last year, I finally took my husband Bob into the same woods where I showed him my little secret. And I hope to, some day, share the same special experience with a new generation of young curious girls. I remember the glitter in his eyes when he saw my own sheer delight.
That day I learned that sometimes the most precious of things can be invisible to the naked eye. Sometimes you have to look deeper, look beyond the obvious to be rewarded with the finest things in life. Sometimes it is the little things that make life special.
This is a tiny painting in hommage to my uncle Gérard and to a tiny and very graceful flower.