Grace in Small Things #40


Male Cardinal

Grace in Nature

1. Walking along the shoreline at dusk, and letting my toes sink into the sand as the water recedes, the white foam leaving tiny rivulets, an uneven line that disappears as soon as another wave hits the shore and pulls back again. This is the best part of the day: in the gloaming, that time between dusk and sundown, when all magical things are possible, and everything seems to be just slightly more tinged with the setting sun’s pink hue—red, pink, gold, and alabaster. This is the time of faeries and dreams.

2. The flower garden in early morning when everything is still covered with dew, still glistening with dawn’s light shower. The only sounds are bird song and crickets, the frogs in the pond and cicadas beginning their low hum.

Female & Male Cardinals

3. The almost crimson cardinal and his mate as they dart from the top of the fence to the nandina bush on the side of the house, its berries muted red in contrast to his unmistakably deep blush and crested head. He is always careful to dive first; she follows. Mated for life, they dance this dance from bush to fence to tree to water—he first, to clear the way, the lady to follow.

4. The softness of a lamb’s ear plant, its silvery foliage, smooth as velvet. Small purple flowers call to hummingbirds and bees as this mat of fuzzy foliage spreads through rocks, lines borders, and encircles trees. The lamb’s ear, so sweetly soft, invites touch, hence its whimsical name.

5. Wisteria is perhaps the most beautiful of vines with its arches of violet-blue flowers that cascade like multiple waterfalls, one atop another atop another, creating the perfect stage for butterflies to perform their air dances in search of honey-sweet nectar. Long associated with the beauty of the Orient, wisteria bears exotic names: Shiro Noda, a Japanese Wisteria; or Kokuryu or Black Dragon, a Chinese Wisteria. Every spring, I anticipate the flowering of a magnificent wisteria vine that has insinuated itself into several trees on a vacant lot. The vine has climbed perhaps 20 feet towards the sky and claims three trees as its own. When it blooms, the smell is heady, and the hanging clusters are magnificent, reaching almost 18 inches when in full bloom.


I love that no one touches this vine, that it grows freely, with pure abandon. I have watched its blooming every spring for years now, each year praying that no human has interferred with its manifest destiny to own the trees, the bushes, anything and everything that grows in its path. Nature, unaltered, is powerful and resplendent to behold.

Nature in all of its wondrous forms always amazes me. I am always finding new things each time I look with a careful eye. More later. Peace.