Friday, June 29, 2007

Squash Blossom

Squash Blossom, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Over the last few days I've grown fascinated with my garden. In particular I've been mesmerized by the blooming of squash blossoms. I don't know a ton about the plant, or about the blossom itself except that my ancestors were also fascinated with the squash blossom. Folks used to put a squash blossom design on knife pouches, personal bags, moccassins, etc. Until I witnessed the blossom myself, I was a little perplexed by this intense interest--but there is something magical about this flower. (If you click on the image, you can see a bee in the upper right corner of the picture--I think he too is mesmerized.)

Even this spring when I traveled to Michigan and spent some time among our tribal cousins, the ojibwe, I saw squash blossoms everywhere. In the hotel where I stayed, squash blossoms were carved into the design of the woodwork, and a feature in the flooring, the paintings, and even the carpeting.

The blossoms close as the day progresses, and they open to their fullest late at night and in the early morning hours. I captured this photo at around 8AM this morning.

My ancestors not only and planted and ate squash, but also enjoyed eating squash blossoms--I've eaten two of the blossoms that had fallen to the ground from the rain. There's something cool about beginning to eat from my garden, and the squash blossom has been a first fruits of sorts.

Seeing these beautiful flowers has made me miss my mom tremendously. I would love to talk to her and ask her questions about these beautiful flowers. I would love to share this image with her, but I can't. I can enjoy these flowers though, and I can take time to appreciate their beauty and their splendor.

I've spent a good bit of time sitting with these flowers over the last few days, and trying to think about what made them so significant to my ancestors--I imagine it's probably the same things that capture my imagination with them.

I bet my ancestors were reminder of beauty by these flowers. The frailty of the bloom probably reminded them to walk gently on the earth, and to be gentle with the creation God had entrusted to our care. Not only did they see beauty in these flowers, but perhaps they were reminded to look for beauty, and to look for God's hand of provision in all of the world. Maybe the fact that the blossom's closed every day as the day progressed told them that sometimes you have to get up early or make some extra effort, and spend a lot of time around an entity to see its beauty unfold. Maybe as they ate the blossoms they were reminded that ultimately it is God who provides our sustenance. maybe they were reminded of community because the flowers emerge in clusters and not alone. Maybe the vine of the plant pointed them to the beautiful weaving together that happens when we live in community with one another.

Whatever the case, as long as the blossoms linger, I plan to make their presence a part of my daily meditation. The Bible tells us, "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made" (Romans 1:20). Maybe in the end, these little blossoms told my ancestors, and are telling me and maybe even telling you, about Jesus--if only we have eyes to see and ears to hear.


Anonymous said...

I love your garden. BTW I left this comment from my iPhone. Love you Bro.

Stephen said...

beautiful photo! i really like when you said it reminds us to "walk gently on the earth, and to be gentle with the creation God had entrusted to our care." Good to meet you at Tan-Tar-A! rock it on