Beach Balls

Wee chartreuse ears spiraling from the soil, whisper the beginnings of a spring creation, soon to cast a deep blue-green Hosta flank along our shadowy beds.  Creativity: one of the more difficult feats for humankind, pulled off so easily by nature and demonstrated so brilliantly in the spring of the year.  Sidney Sheldon said, “A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it is to be God”.  The landscape come March is a great blank paper where for the recent three months we have watched the unfolding of a vast mosaic cast with blankets of colors.  The ebb and flow of nature’s art shifting from early, to mid, to late spring translucently flooding into summer.  What was the Flowering Dogwood in early May is the Kousa Dogwood this week.  Happening so timelessly that we look up in awe, shocked of the surprise blossom that seemingly happened overnight just outside the window.


With great respect do I absorb this creative bubbling up.  Thus, I would nuance Thoreau in that, “The curious world we inhabit is more wonderful than convenient: more beautiful than it is useful: it is more to be admired and enjoyed than used”.  What is beauty if we aren’t to use it, to consume it?  After many months of looking at the blank paper winter offers, I have no choice but use this beauty to drown the demons of long grey days and to bring back the hope of life and the examples of spontaneous creativity that this world offers.

It brings me pause engaging in the outside and it’s ubiquitous display of creativity.  In this most fragrant time of year I find myself slowing just enough to see, to truly see life.  More than the Clematis that now stretches up the trellis outside my front door or the Shrub Roses by my drive that have the most swollen happy buds one could imagine, simply ready to burst.  More then these quasi-planned events I’m paused by the simpleness and spontaneity.  This week I squeezed in a few moments with my graduate assistant (Bennett the Beagle) for a walk on the beach.  With high waters the beach expanse itself has woken this spring to new creations.  Sea-lines closer to sandy cliffs, change the way we normally stroll north out of St. Joseph.  Bennett’s utter fear of water and dash between one of these narrowed beaches almost caused me to rush just a bit too much missing a spring event of ethereal creativity.  Beach balls I called them at first glance.  Flotsam really, trash and weeds at best.  But, for the efforts of our lake, a stiff NW breeze and a tumbling sea we have nature’s orbs.  True beach balls, those that flanked this great Lake Michigan long before even Indians. 

They lined the beach in one of the nine patterns seen in nature, what we call ‘scattered’ in the drafting studio, almost planned yet simply perfect, easy to identify yet so hard to reproduce.  For me to paint this picture on a white sheet would pull too deep on my creative strength while the Landscape does it without thought.  Events such as the beach balls are happening all around us.  The narrows of life rush us, dodging tumultuous seas, and we have to pull against every sinew to slow long enough so that we can absorb, consume…use.  With these first baskets, take that time.  Clean a little dirt off the beets appreciating the creation, chop a little slower, taste a little more what the earth has to offer.