Excerpts


Queen Anne's Lace

Mark Murphy

Queen Anne’s lace elegantly appears along the country roadsides, tucked quietly into the ashen brown of the tall grass seeds about to spill to the earth. Thistles, in all sizes and shapes, are in full bloom, their purple blossoms dotting the landscape. Soon the thistle blooms will turn to white cotton seeds floating across the land to nestle against the soil. Maple trees are abundant with seeds that will soon twirl to the ground like miniature helicopters. The vetch, once profusely green, now clings to the fences in faded brown glory, the nectar of its flowers turned to dark seedpods. In this quiet stillness of August, nature is preparing to reseed life.

We so often think of life as action. The faster we go, the more we get done; the more we can accomplish, the smarter we are, the thinner we are. It just takes more self-control and more time management and more initiative. Reminders to “Just do it” and “Get it done” and “Make it so” seem to be everywhere. As humans, we are tops in knowing how to race. We are pathetic at knowing how to be still. Delayed gratification has almost disappeared from our minds. Technology and convenience anytime, anywhere is what we have grown to expect.

Nature has no expectation of immediacy. The seeds are sown during this quiet time with absolute patience and certainty that they will sprout and thrive in another six months. They fall softly upon the soil, sometimes carried by the wind to a faraway place, sometimes simply slipping to the earth beneath them. There is no sense of action in this process. There is only a sense of faith. When we sow seeds in our lives, we expect those seeds will sprout and shout in about two weeks. And if they don’t, we poke, we prod, we get frustrated, and we give up. If it isn’t happening now, it isn’t happening.

Perhaps we have it backwards. Perhaps we need to sow the seeds with a sense of stillness and faith. Perhaps what we need to cultivate is not more action but more stillness.

Learn to be still. Sow your seeds for life with more faith and less control. If you allow them to grow in their own time, they will flourish. If you stomp on them impatiently in frustration, they will surely perish.