Beautiful hope is found in the weeds

“You are like a chestnut burr, prickly outside,
but silky-soft within, and a sweet kernel,
if one can only get at it. Love will make you show your heart some day,
and then the rough burr will fall off.”

Louisa May Alcott


(a thistle prepares to bloom / Julie Cook / 2020)

Thistles, to me, are most alluring.

To Eeyore, they are a tasty ‘smakeral’ or so Pooh would observe.

They begin, in the early spring, as a spikey mass or clump, of uninviting serrated leaves
emerging oddly from the ground.

Trust me, don’t use bare hands in an attempt to pull them up in order to rid your space
of this most unwanted visitor.

They will eventually send forth one, or even several, shoots sporting a purplish fringed bulb.
As this odd bulb unfurls its full glory, the bloom is almost regal in a crown-like
explosion of texture.


(a thistle crown / Julie Cook / 2020)

And like all earthly glories, these odd blooming weeds eventually fade, turning themselves
back to seed.


(a field of thistles gone to seed /Julie Cook / 2020)

And yet the fact that these plants are considered useless and invasive and even noxious
weeds, there is a beauty found in their blooming and a bit of
respect found in their tenacity.

Saturday I was reading Kathy’s post over on atimetoshare.me —
Kathy was offering some waxing thoughts regarding our world’s current pandemic situation.

I found one passage most enlightening…

Our current younger generation are those who will not experience the pageantry of
a real graduation – those who will not go to their Senior prom –
those who have been through the good, the bad and now the ugly –
those who will be running our country in the next few years.

These unique young people will become a generation of problem solvers,
creative thinkers, money managers, inventive and innovative thinkers all because
their world was turned upside down by a little germ.
They will be the second greatest generation, because they have experienced plenty or at least enough.
They have been on the cutting edge of technology.
They have seen their nation at its worst and at its best.

SATURDAY SOUND OFF

Kathy noted that this current class of seniors, be it high school or college, are presently
experiencing a great many firsts in the way of loss.

Losses of certain rights of passage.

No Spring sports.
No state championships.
No Spring breaks.
No year-end award ceremonies.
No trophies.
No classes
No proms.
No senior days.
No graduations.
No graduation trips.

Only a seemingly unending sense of loss, isolation with more questions than answers.

And yet Kathy notes that this will be the group to become our next class of problem solvers.
They will be our newest innovators and creative thinkers…in part because
such a role and responsibility has been thrust upon them.

They have been handed a mantle of burden and responsibility despite not necessarily seeing
such coming their way.
And it is perhaps not truly a burden they have wanted…but they have been handed such nonetheless.

And so in this time of surreal losses and misses, there is a generation
that will have to rise to the occasion of problem-solving.

They have the tools at their fingertips as a pandemic has now spurred them on–
be it out of frustration, resentment, or simple curiosity…
hope now rests in the beauty of a blooming generation…

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

wonder found in the details…

I live and love in God’s peculiar light.
Michelangelo


(close up of a thistle / Julie Cook / 2017)

Yesterday, my friend Colorstorm over on The Lion’s Den
( https://thenakedtruth2.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/well-this-is-deep/ )
offered a post complete with a rather informative video clip regarding the depths
of the ocean.

An amazingly informative little narrative that is not only factually full but is
actually quite humbling.

And in keeping with this humbling mindset,
last week CS offered a clip about the majesty of the earth.
The clip offered an interesting perspective of a flat planet vs the more familiar round.
Yet no matter one’s thoughts on flat or round—the earth is beyond words.
The sheer majesty of the natural planet is so much greater than man’s capacity for
adjectives….

And now CS has offered a clip of equal magnitude when considering the depths of the ocean.
The clip does not focus on pretty pictures but rather indisputable numbers,
facts and comparisons.

It is estimated that only 5% of the ocean floor has been adequately “mapped” by man.
Meaning that there is 95% of the world’s oceans that are a vast unexplored mystery.
And since the oceans of this planet cover 71% of earth’s surface…that is
an awful lot of unknowns….

So as I pondered and mused over the fact that our God,
the Creator of not only the earth, but of all that is within…
that the Creator of all the oceans and seas that cover this earth…
is so awesome,
so amazing,
so beyond man’s mere limited comprehension…
that even the creatures of the darkest depths are provided illumination and
that even the most mundane and cursed of weeds of the land is topped with a glorious crown…

For His attention is not only full of the big, the vast, the deep and the wide,
but it is in the tiniest of details that we actually see His true nature…
that of an endless loving compassion…

No one is like you, Lord;
you are great,
and your name is mighty in power.
Who should not fear you,
King of the nations?
This is your due.
Among all the wise leaders of the nations
and in all their kingdoms,
there is no one like you.

Jeremiah 10:6-7

A wicked thistle this way comes

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So I’ve been watching this particular thistle, out in the pasture, sprouting upwards for the past couple of weeks– intently monitoring it’s progress towards “blossoming”. It is a most wicked looking plant– or weed. And herein lies the conundrum—is it a plant, an herb, a vegetable, or a noxious weed? If you ask any local farmer, they will be quick to say “A WEED!!”, the bane of any pasture to be sure.

I think they are unusual and kind of pretty in an almost deadly sort of way. I come upon them in our yard/pasture (remember we sit in the middle of 5 acres–part yard, part pasture sans any type of farm animals), just as they are coming up out of the ground, looking definitely weedy, I’ve been known to reach down to pluck them right up out of the ground, with that dandelion mentality, but quickly remember why that is such a bad idea. These things are nothing but spines and pokes. Painful spines and pokes. They are even known to cause a type of reaction similar to poison Ivy–a type of contact dermatitis. Not so much a rash but more of an immediate stinging as if you’d just gathered up a handful of fire ants (hate them).

The Thistle is the symbol of Scotland—and as my maternal great grandparents came to the US from Scotland, I am most proud of my Scottish roots (unfortunately Sylvia Kay has no idea as to her real roots…see the post “Who in the heck is Sylvia Kay and what have you done with her?!” but I digress). The lowly Thistle has represented the Scottish people since the reign of Alexander III (1249-1286) with the story going back to the Norse invasions of this northern end of the British Isles.

Seems some unsuspecting marauding Viking, who must have been barefoot, was attempting to sneak up on the Scots in order to do that thing that they do so well, pillage– when he stepped on a thistle, letting out a Viking yell of agony and therefore alerting the Scots of his presence. The pillaging was put to a fast halt. The rest is history.

I’ve not exactly been excited having this particular thistle in my yard/ hay field, but did want to see it through to blooming before taking spade in hand and digging up the whole lot only to remove it to the rubbish pile—all before it has a chance to turn from purple bloom to the infamous white cotton top and spread its deadly little seeds.

You should know however that I’ve done a little research on these pretty little pesky weeds—did you know people actually eat these things?! I suppose it’s rather kin to eating an artichoke—a little pokey but eventually a tasty reward. However, anything I have to go gather wearing combat gloves and “skin” before preparing just isn’t my cup of tea. And speaking of tea, I think it must be sort of like those who gather nettles for tea–beware of the pokes!

Here is a link to a most informative website all about the lowly thistle and how to go about gathering, preparing, adding butter, and digging in—with a fork that is. I’ll just leave the gathering and preparing to others—I’m not ready to sauté a plate of thistle

http://www.eattheweeds.com/thistle-touch-me-not-but-add-butter-2/

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