Each season offers it’s own gifts. Often, taking advantage of them has to be a conscious effort. I speed past, without notice. I look, but don’t see the details.
As I run errands or hurry to appointments, I do glance over to the side of the road and see the uncut borders of grass and overgrown weeds. While stopped at red lights, I see some wildflowers growing among the green and brown in the margins. I live on the outskirts of town where most of the scenery is not neatly manicured lawns. This is the Alabama countryside. But there’s beauty in the margins.
“And why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow: they do not work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers.” – Matthew 6: 28-29
So, recently, I’ve taken some wildflower walks to look more closely at the beauty that autumn has to offer. I didn’t have to leave our cul-de-sac for one adventure. There’s a utility easement near the intersection that hasn’t been cut for months. The sky that day reminded me of Helen Hunt Jackson’s poem “October’s Bright Blue Weather.”
A closer look into the weeds showed a lot of different flowers: asters, swamp sunflowers, sumac, black-eyed susans, and many more. As I pushed further into the area, I found more varieties of flowers. Some were past their prime, like the wild ageratum, and I love that blue color. I was sorry to have missed them.
On my walk back home, I noticed my pant legs were covered in little hairy grass seeds, stuck like velcro to the fabric. It seemed like a billion of them. They were not easily removed. I should have taken a picture, but I was too busy grumbling.
“It is God who clothes the wild grass—grass that is here today and gone tomorrow, burned up in the oven. Won’t he be all the more sure to clothe you? What little faith you have!” – Matthew 6: 30
Finally, there’s goldenrod. Everywhere. Some varieties are just coming into their time to shine, while other varieties are fading to brown. I leave a little in my own garden each year because my dogs have seemed to like it as part of their green diet. One person’s weed is another person’s wildflower.
It used to the the State Flower for Alabama from 1927 until 1959. My mother lamented the change to the camillia, since it is not a native plant and doesn’t grow as well in the northern parts of the state. Goldenrod, on the other hand grows like, well, a weed. It’s ubiquitous. Mama thought it represented us much more accurately.
You never know where we Alabamians will pop up. We are tenacious, weedy, and sometimes seedy, but gloriously showy in our time. There is beauty in the margins.