The Changes We Do Not See

Over the past several months, the Chronicle has reflected many times on change and transformation. For the most part, these reflections have been about big changes happening here, noticeable changes. […]

Over the past several months, the Chronicle has reflected many times on change and transformation. For the most part, these reflections have been about big changes happening here, noticeable changes. Also woven into the Chronicle over the past several years, there have been many references to THE change, Covid, and the impact it has had on our lives.

It occurred to me this morning as I was standing on the deck overlooking the front yard, just how much has changed in the past several years that maybe we didn’t notice because they were not big changes. One change that particularly struck me was the prairie garden thriving in our idyllic swale.

A few years ago, after months of frustration over not being able to mow part of our front yard because it seems to be too wet so much of the summer, JustBob hit on the idea of planting wildflower seeds. Fr. Bob was a fan of the idea, because he was interested in creating a butterfly habitat. The first year, after JustBob and Tracy spread the seeds, it didn’t look like much. But as the fall turned toward winter that year, JustBob carefully harvested the blossoms and seed pods, then scattered those seeds in the prairie garden, too. The next year, the prairie was a little more full, a little more colorful, a little more noticeable. The birds, bees and butterflies noticed the change, but did we?

Several years into this effort now, the prairie is thriving. Early this summer, I took pictures during the garden’s “white phase”, when most of the blooms were white. Today, looking out over the multi-colored palette of flowers, I wondered how many missed seeing the change from unmown soggy lawn to a rainbow of colors to delight the eye over the past few years, or even noticed the change from mostly white flowers to the variety of color just a few months later.

The Covid lockdown led to another change on the grounds. With no staff for three months during the spring growing season, the grounds looked a little unkempt when JustBob returned to work in June. But there was beauty in the wildness, too, especially in the back yard. So rather than mow the whole back yard, JustBob mowed some paths to the trails and cemetery, and continued to let most of the area grow wild. Now there are all kinds of beauty thriving in that area as well, and it offers a natural habitat for wildlife of all kinds.

Then there are the subtle seasonal changes, as the buds sprout in spring, or how the grass greens after a good soaking rain, the perennials blooming in their array of colors, or the trees beginning to turn as summer moves toward fall. The hydrangea near the front door moves through a series of color changes as we move through the spring, summer and into fall – green buds become white blossoms, then the white flowers start to turn pink, then the pink gradually deepens until the blossoms are all a dark rose color. How often do we see but not see these subtle changes, especially those of us here every day? Do we stop to enjoy the beauty when it is here, or only notice when the beauty is gone?

For the awareness to notice the changes each day and each season brings, and for the beauty each change brings, we say Deo Gratias!

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