Saturday, November 1, 2008


My dad has taught me many things, but today I am thinking about rhubarb and passion flowers. Rhubarb, I learned from his example, is really only good if you steep it in sugar. Dad prefers rhubarb sauce, cooked thick and bubbly on the stove and served in a bowl, ice cream optional. I preferred to pick it, lick it and stick it straight in the sugar bowl. I think my mom knew I did this - all my brothers and sisters did it too. But I never got in trouble for it. I'm not sure if I've ever allowed my own children that kind of whirling freedom to just be a child. I hope I have. My parents laughed at the funny faces we made as bit into the tart stalks, and then made them right along with us.

Passion flowers are different. They are not for hearty consumption and sour faces. They are delicate - made of purple lace, really. They grow on a vine, and they entwined the front porch of my childhood home. Passion flowers, at least the variety we had, bloom for a single day. They blossom in the early morning hours, and if you don't look you will miss it. By evening it will be dead. My dad nurtured his vines all season long, watching, tending, watching. During blossoming season he would step out on the porch every morning before work to see if the miracle was happening. Usually it was not. Isn't that how it is with miracles? You watch for it every day. Usually you do not see it. You think it might not happen. Perhaps you weren't tender enough with the vine. Maybe the weather was not just right this year. It might not be enough.

Then one day Dad yells out from the porch, "Come here! Come here!" We all know what is happening, and we rush out as a group. And there it is. One violet, lacy flower, so delicate you don't want to breathe on it, but there it is. It happened, and it is beautiful. The beauty is more intense because of the scarcity of it. I go out to look at it several times that day.

The next day it is gone.

Thanks for showing me that, Dad.


Connie said...

Good point- I hope I can let Brody explore like I should and teach him to enjoy the things in life that are fleeting.

Signe said...

I'm afraid I did not allow my children as much childhood as they should have been allowed. Perhaps because I had four right away when I got married and they were a tad bit out of control. Or maybe because I was sick of kids by the time I got home from work that I wasn't as patient as I should have been. I would recommend that every parent watch for those miracles that happen so quickly and pass by so subtly that we miss experiencing them with our children.