15 Elul 5776
by Rhea Dorn
This world contains the glorious and the horrible that pulls us here and there, close and far. It batters our senses. When you are overcome with beauty at moments when you do not expect it, examine it and give it a thorough inspection. Don’t just give it a quick view and an “Oh that’s nice”. Look deeper.
This summer I spent a few days in the Tuolumne Meadows area of Yosemite with six people I had not known. One was Ranger Michael Ross, who led us into the intense depths of the High Sierra wild flowers. I had always taken note of the bright colors and beauty of those yellow, purple and pink flowers as I hiked along. Not a heads down onward walker along mountain paths, I have loved listening to the birds’ varied songs and flowing water in rocky creeks. AH – I noticed but did not see; I did not know what I was missing. A wondrous world unfolded before me when I followed Ranger Michael. Come along the path and enter.
We planted ourselves, belly first, on the ground at the edge of the forest. Clusters of small white flowers were scattered around. Nice, I thought. Ah, but there was more. I held one blossom in one hand and a lens in the other. “Look,” said ranger Michael. How many pedals, sepals? What spirals under these pedals? How many pistils, stamens? Where is the ovary? Oh my goodness, this small blossom held a world inside. I could see the line in a brighter color on each pedal that led directly to the female part. Aha, lovely. This is a road map. We rose, covered in forest detritus and overwhelmed with joy. The higher we walked the more we saw with our magnifying lenses. Breathtaking beauty that amazed me and filled me with wonder. The pollinators that were drawn into this loveliness came in many forms: butterflies, moths and insects. I couldn’t believe that tiny bee, that was really a fly, smaller than the pedal of the tiny white flower hovering and collecting. It brushed the stamen filled with pollen to deliver it to the waiting pistil. Ah, this is magnificent.
The beauty of the high Sierras took on another layer when I looked deeper. We walk along life, sometimes heads down pushing on. But sometimes we look up and breath and listen. There, all around is beauty. Family and friends, the place, a beautiful scene, a book, a poem, a song. Now I understand there is more than just seeing. Look deeper and enlarge the beauty all around.