DANIEL STOWE BOTANICAL GARDEN
Today I took a break from the hurly-burly of recent weeks and wandered off the beaten path. Specifically, I wandered down a country lane called New Hope Road - something I can definitely use some of, these days.
The sun was shining and the gentle rolling hills on either side created an undulating peace as I meandered through the pines. My destination, should I be so fortunate as to actually find it, (some in my family have remarked that I am directionally challenged - as in "turn me around in a phone booth twice and I am lost") was the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. And bless my soul, with no trouble at all, I found it! And did it ever bless my soul!
I had seen an advertisement laying on the counter of my hotel for days touting a remarkable display of orchids at this local garden attraction. True, I had not come to N.C. to sight see, but rather to be of some help to family members in need. However, today, no one seemed to need anything at the moment, and so off I went. I am so thankful that I did.
The front desk greeter at this beautiful visitor site told me that this year's orchid show contained about double the number of different varieties that they normally have. In other words, I was visiting on a banner year. They were not kidding.
The colors and shapes were almost beyond description, but you know me, I plan to give it a try. First, I have never seen so many orchids in such amazing colors: crimson, mauve, yellow, gold, magenta, white (in about 10 different shades), purple, maroon, salmon, melon, mustard, pink (in another half-dozen shades), blackberry, scarlet and finally one which was green! Yes, green; green petals almost the color of it's stems with just a tiny yellow and white center.
And the points of origin: Madagascar, Central America, India, Africa, North America, etc. Then there was the multitudinous shapes at which to marvel. Some were pointed, on the tips of the petals with tiny little tongues appearing to lap at the mist which was released periodically throughout the conservatory in order to simulate the humidity in which these wonders usually thrive.
Some were ruffled at the edges, like a delicately decorated wedding cake, with muted veins of contrasting colors running through the petals. Gold petals sometimes displayed crimson patterns or dots, and pink petals showed white veins or splotches resembling a wildly talented abstract painting. As it happens, I know the Artist, and He is, indeed, creative beyond all comprehension.
Near the end of the walking tour I read some interesting signs. One informed me that all North American orchids are terrestrial, meaning they grow only in soil, unlike those from other places on the globe which may grow in water, soil, hanging from trees, etc. Leave it to us Yanks, always planted firmly on terra firma. We really need to lighten up a little.
Next a sign told me that the smallest orchid is only the size of the head of a pin. This sign was posted in front of a glass enclosed case, wherein I assumed there must have been an example of this dainty flower. However, either it was not yet in bloom, or my bifocals are not powerful enough, because although I peered carefully, I could not spot these tiny blossoms.
No matter, I believed they were there, somewhere, and just thinking of them made me smile. I have read that during the last couple of centuries, certain theologians would debate whether or not, and if so how many, angels could stand on the head of a pin. Something about them not taking up any space on the time/space continuum, or some such nonsense.
I could not see the pinhead sized orchid blossoms, and I don't care whether or not angels can stand on the head of a pin. I am of the opinion that people who debate such things are, in fact, pinheads themselves. I'm just saying.
But what I do believe, more so after this morning's adventure in orchid-wonderland, is that God created all things great and small. That He intends for us to enjoy what we can, when we can, and when that is not possible, to give thanks for the strength to endure what we must.
Today - however - is not for endurance, but for enjoyment. Just color me thankful! God bless you - Marsha