Kindling Neighborly Connections between People and Nature.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

A wandering adventure

"Bring your own blindfold," said Mark, as we departed the town of Wellsboro, traveling to an undisclosed location that is home to some Pennsylvania rare and endangered plant species. No, there were no blindfolds; this was Mark's way of using a little humor to stress the importance of keeping the locations of rare plants confidential.

The three of us had a great time wandering through the woods (thankfully one of us knew where we were and where we were headed!) and getting a look at some rare species along the way. While we wandered my mind also wandered about themes of worship and about love.

Worship and love; these are two central elements having to do with being a disciple of Jesus that stand out as prominent in my life at present.

As I take time for worship, orienting my life in relationship with God, I want to grow into a heightened awareness of the unique ways that all forms of life praise God simply by being what each has been created to be and by doing what each has been made to do; birds by flying, fish by swimming, trees by reaching trunk and branches skyward, and young orchids, by taking nutrients from various types of fungus in the soil and eventually maturing into the ability to make their own energy from sunlight like most other plants.

Jesus is recorded as saying that the most important commandment is this; "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength...and love your neighbor as yourself."

As I consider all that has life as a neighbor, and especially the rare plants which Mark was kind enough to show Dan and I today; and considering that one of the major pressures that led to the endangerment of at least one of the species of plants pictured below is habitat loss, it seems important to note that the best way to love these rare plants (to treat each as a neighbor) is not to smother them with care and concern and certainly not to move them into a more protected location. The best way to love these rare plants is to give  them space.

As God who is at work within us prepares our hearts and minds to love our fellow human beings and all that has life I am hopeful that we will be empowered to appreciate these rare plants for their beautiful and unique qualities as well as the praise each sends forth and to love them by giving them the space each needs to thrive.

(Left to Right: Me, Dan, and our guide for the day, Mark)

(pitcher plant)

(Jewel-leaved orchid)

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