I love to drive the back roads of southeastern Kentucky where I live. Every season is different. Driving along in a hurry, it is very easy to see only an ordinary piece of pavement leading from Point A to Point B. But with a different purpose in mind than just arriving somewhere at a particular time, the ordinary road becomes and extraordinary pathway of beauty. Wildflowers are blooming in profusion, pushing their glorious blossoms through dead leaves, sticks, and twigs that covered them through the winter. Every inch of soil beside of the road was bursting with new life stretching up in search of sunshine.
Welcome Wildflowers! The Highlands of Kentucky are rich with natural geographic beauty, but in the spring, the profusion of wild blossoms popping up unattended and unseen is truly a delight. It seems this year especially that everything has chosen to bloom all at once.
I took my camera and drove across the mountain yesterday to Pine Mountain Settlement School. I was chasing sunshine and dodging storm clouds, but the trip was definitely worth it. The variety of wildflowers and flowering trees that were out amazed me.
Our ordinary worlds are filled with unexpected beauty. We only need to take the time and make the effort to look for it.
Photos from Pine Mountain Settlement School – Pine Mountain, Kentucky USA
It is very easy to look at spring’s beautiful blossoms popping up and take for granted that they were there last year, are coming up again this year, and will be there next year. Some are from seeds, some from bulbs, all carefully planned and arranged. While we appreciate the loveliness, we may not think any deeper about how they got there.
At some point in time every flower garden, every manicured lawn, every contained patch of blossoms was planned and planted by someone. While nature’s profusion of springtime beauties grows wild and amazing, reseeding the land and returning every year without human hands, flower gardens are not so.
Someone had to have a preference for certain flowers to take time to plant them in a flower garden. They may have liked the color, the length of staying power of each flower, or the season in which the flower blooms. It takes thought, working in the dirt, tending the plants, and pulling weeds to make a flower garden a picture of beauty. Often, the person who took such great care with their plants passes away and someone else picks up where they left off, perhaps adding other specimens from time to time.
Photos from Biltmore House and Gardens – North Carolina, USA
As we go through life, we are planting seeds of good or evil along our way. Some we can tend and get to see the blossoms for ourselves. Others will bloom when we aren’t looking. And still others will be tended by hands we know nothing about.
The spring delights I have seen in the last few days reminded me of the parable Jesus spoke of about the sower of seeds.
Matthew 13 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Parable of the Sower
13 On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. 2 And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. 8 But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Let us sow our seeds of faith, love, and goodness as we have opportunity to do so, knowing that not all will survive, but in confidence that there will be seeds the spring up gloriously, grow, and bear fruit long after we know about it.
Pine Mountain Settlement School celebrated its Centennial birthday a couple of years ago. I’ve been going there for almost thirty years with students, and taking visiting family to see a bit of paradise. There is so much amazing history at the school that a person could spend years reviewing information in the archives. Environmental education programs are top notch. The landscape is beautiful and the buildings amazing.
I love this place in every season. Spring and fall are my favorites. The March blooms (Easter flowers, or daffodils as some call them) are already lined up in proud profusion, nodding their yellow heads in the spring breeze. Larkspur is beginning to bloom and tulip leaves are pushing their way up through the soil. In another week or two, there will be so many domestic and wildflowers on campus that a new delight awaits in every direction.
I never get tired of walking across the fields, up the gravel roads, or looking out across campus from the chapel door. William Creech’s vision for his community and his desire to education his children and build a strong and wholesome learning opportunity on his side of the mountain set all of this in motion over one hundred years ago.
It is a place I will never tire of revisiting.