I was doing my early morning meditation walk this morning. Sunday mornings the greenway is especially quiet; I don’t see most of the dogs I’ve made friends with from my daily morning walks. So I was in a particularly quiet and reflective mood this morning. Then suddenly, something caught my eyes. It was tiny little flashes of blue.
Now, while blue is very prevalent in our human culture because more people say blue is their favorite color than any other color, it’s not very common in nature. Now, if you should say, “But Carol, the sky and the seas are blue and they cover more of our planet than anything else,” I would respond, no they aren’t, not really. We experience them as blue due to light refraction, but if you capture a quart of the atmosphere or of the ocean in a clear jar, neither of them look blue, not like they do during our walks under open skies or along beaches. Similarly, animals around here that we see as blue, such as blue jays or bluebirds, don’t have any blue pigment that you can see under a microscope if you grind up their feathers; once again, it is just a trick that light plays on us.
But this morning, I saw something that really was blue–that is, actually contains blue pigment. It was this small plant shown below:
Isn’t that beautiful? What a gorgeous blue color! But you really have to be looking carefully to see them, because each petal is smaller than a green pea. So it is easy for us with our focus on all the “big things” going on in our lives to walk by a silent little treasure like this. I thought to myself that this flower has probably been by the side of my path all week, and I haven’t noticed it until this quiet, reflective Sunday morning.
I looked this up on my plant identification app on my phone and discovered it was an “invasive” plant and/or weed named an Asian Dayflower. It’s called a dayflower because it’s flowers only last for one day. So I hadn’t missed it in previous walks! This beautiful, if invasive, flower apparently blooms only for today. Tomorrow when I walk the path, it will be gone. And so, what if I hadn’t taken my reflective Sunday walk this morning and been paying attention to Nature instead of all the very, very “important things” in my human life? I would not have another opportunity to see it for an entire year.
It made me think of one of my favorite quotes by poet Mary Oliver from her poem, “The Summer Day:”
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Except in the case of the dayflower flower, it’s one wild and precious life lasts for only a single day. But thinking about it deeper, that’s really true for all of us, isn’t it? All we know about, all we are guaranteed, is this one day. Yesterday is a memory and tomorrow is a fantasy.
So that is the question that I asked myself for the rest of my meditation walk. What is it I plan to do with my ONE wild and precious day?
So far, I’ve assisted with the Sunday service at my spiritual center, went out to a lovely lunch with friends, and spoken on the phone with family. And now, I’ve shared this story with you.
What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious day?