Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Make Hay While the Sun Shines" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (03/06/08)
TITLE: Touching Trillium
By Emily Gibson
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Instead of a nap today and instead of doing what the farm needs, I go hunting for trillium. They are the traditional harbinger of spring and without them, it all seems like just so much pretending. These are somber plants that will only grow in certain conditions of woods and shade, with leafy mulched soil. Once established, they reliably spring up from their bulbs every spring with their rich green trio of leaves on each stem that are at once soft and slightly shimmery, and at the top the purest of three white petals, one per leaf cluster. The blossoms last a week or two, then turn purplish and fade away, followed weeks later by the fading of the foliage, not to spring again from the soil until the following year. Picking a trillium blossom necessitates picking the leaf foliage beneath it, and that in turn destroys the bulb's ability to nourish and regenerate, and the plant never forms again. I think I have known this from my earliest childhood days as I was a compulsive wildflower gatherer as a little kid, having devastated more than my share of trillium bulbs until I learned the awful truth of the damage I had done. I have since treated them as sacrosanct and untouchable and have taught that respect in my children.
There are still a few trillium blossoms to be found on our farm, steadfast survivors despite a few insensitive harvesters over the years, yet still vulnerable to someone's impulse to bring the beauty indoors for a few days in a vase. What a tenuous grip on life when people desire to pluck them, with their resulting oblivion. How unknowingly destructive we are in our blind selfish pursuit of beauty for our own pleasure and purposes. These pure triad blossoms and leaves, representing all that is preciously drawn from the earth and enriched and nourished by sunlight, can be obliterated, never to return, never to bloom, never to rise again from the dust.
So how much more precious is that which rises again to bloom and flourish forever despite our senseless destructiveness? And He is here, among us, waiting for us, forgiving us for what we have done, for what we have not done, for our unthinking haste.
Trillium have been legendary symbols representing the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Spirit and I'm reminded of that analogy as our family and larger church family enter Holy Week leading to Easter. We prepare ourselves and our farm for the coming week's events—Palm Sunday services followed by our church's Thursday evening Bread and Soup supper with communion, with the darkening Tenebrae service Good Friday evening to meditate on the last words of Jesus from the Cross, followed by an overnight vigil around a bonfire on our farm on Saturday night while we "watch and wait" for the risen Lord. Early Sunday morning our neighborhood community meets on our hilltop to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. We are touched and stricken anew, year after year. We are reminded of our need of the Son, our reminder of His work on earth preparing us for the fruits of glory in heaven.
I look at the trillium longingly, wanting to touch them, wanting to own them and hold them, and knowing I cannot, must not, and never will. Instead, with far more longing and gratitude, I watch and wait for our Lord, knowing He is here, He is now, He is everlasting.
I am rooted in the everlasting soil of life, thriving, fragile, forgiven.
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