Falling in Love
Today, my seven year old niece asked me to go with her on a walk by the edge of the Pond Cypress swamp and to bring my camera. She often accompanies me on my photographic outings and today she had plenty of direction for me, pointing out only the best shots. One shot was this water lily, Nymphaea odorata Aiton. The first time I spotted them was years ago, shortly after the meteor showers here in August. When I spotted them floating under the cypress my first thought was that they were the remnants of those shooting stars. I guess technically everything is stardust but on that morning they were particularly bright and dazzled me with their freshness against the rust colored water. Since then I have become accustomed to those floating stars marking the coming of fall when they become more plentiful.
But today they became a fresh discovery. I could hear her breath as she gasped when she eyed the singular blossom. What I heard, I realized, was my niece falling in love. Next time she will want to get closer, maybe examine it and ask me questions about how it lives in the water. I will explain the parts of the flower and maybe draw pictures to help her visualize. We’ll take tissue from the leaf and examine the stomata under the microscope. We’ll spend time observing the other life forms that benefit or are harmed from the lily’s presence. As long as she has questions we will keep learning. As long as she continues to fall in love with nature, then she will continue to care for her world.
In the moment that she gasped I was connected to all of those “first times” that impelled my heart to know more. So, take a child out on a walk to a wild place and fall in love all over again with earthly wonders. The planet’s counting on it!