Skip is a chameleon. Living easily in disparate worlds, it takes on the colors of its surroundings. Without context, “skip” is colored by your mood. Are you irritable? It replies, “Oh, just skip it!”. Or do you feel loss, like a record skipping, missing notes that should have been played? Are you distracted, not seeing because you’re not paying attention? Or filled with childlike joy, skipping through life with abandon?
I wandered the garden this morning uncertain of my mood. I captured images as I went, feeling interest but still somewhat lackluster. It was only later, as I reviewed my photos that the context of the day emerged. I saw the hidden beauties I had captured, but not fully seen. Beauties so camouflaged that it would have been easy to skip over them. My heart skipped with joy.
First, I checked to see the progress of my black eggs, now wriggling tadpoles by the hundreds. Just next door, in the lotus pond, sat a frog, hidden in a pot among the leaf litter.
And then I went to check my little red wagon. All my garden stuff gets gathered in this wagon, which I drag around with me wherever I go. But it sat unused for several days; other commitments and rain having kept me away from the garden. Then, free at home and with a day filled with sun, I blindly pulled my wagon from its shelter. It was only when I stopped where I planned to work that I saw what I had done. A wren had built a nest among the clutter of the cart, and now the nest was abandoned, filled with unhatched eggs. My heart sank. I love wrens, but I have often thought of sitting them down as a group to discuss their nesting strategy. They never fail to build nests in the most vulnerable places, low to the ground and hidden only to their trusting minds. I replaced the wagon in its shelter, hoping but never expecting the wren to returnto warm the abandoned eggs. And this morning, hope won. In the middle of the clutter sat the nest, and in the middle of the nest, a wren peaked out at me.
I left the wagon in place and went to the garden to try to gain some ground in the battle with the weeds. Being early spring, there is still leaf litter to clear from under plants. But my eye caught an unfamiliar pattern in the leaf litter. An asarum shuttleworthia was blooming for the first time in my garden. Like the wrens’ nests, the blossoms lie low to the ground, but in this case they truly are hidden and being the same color as the rich earth around them, they are easy to skip over. They let the leaves dancing above them carry your eye as they hide below.
These hidden beauties are like gifts given to the quiet onlooker, to one who takes a moment to see and not just pass by. But lest we get carried away with our virtue, thinking the gifts of beauty are available only to the enlightened, there is also great beauty in the simple and “unhidden”.