A few weeks ago, as part of the opening meditation at our weekly church fellowship group, we were invited to reflect on encounters with nature from the day. One young woman shared about the delight she had digging in the soil, planting a garden. "I'm not so sure about the thistles, though." She had pulled out a fair number and was finding it hard to be grateful for thorns.
The day before my eye had been caught by the raindrops on a newly emerging thistle in the prairie plantings on campus, and by the intriguing patterns of the thorns and the emerging thistle heads. There is beauty even in thorns and thistles.
We talked about the definition of a weed being "a plant that is in the wrong place." Liz didn't want thistles in the garden, so they were weeds. But in the right place, they have their own beauty.
Thistles are thriving in the wild stretch between the railroad and the bike path, south of campus. Some have thrust their thistle heads higher than I am, and they are beginning to bloom. Eventually there will be seeds and the goldfinch will rejoice.
"Instructions for living a life:
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"
I've taken on a prayer practice of looking for the moments of light in each day, whether actual or metaphorical, and then writing or posting photos of what I find.