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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Do You See Glorious Green?

by Steve Sorensen
(Originally published in the Warren Times Observer, March 16, 2013.)

Green is glorious.

Although my eyesight was better when I was a kid, I didn’t see then what I see now. With each passing year the changes I witness in springtime seem more and more impressive. Do you have eyes to see it? Do you see the things behind the things you see?

Why we don’t ooh and ahh at the 
variegated spring hills, like we do in fall? 

Are you seeing raggedy-looking deer feeding voraciously in fields along the roads? We see their coats beat up by three months of harsh weather. One reason those deer are so hungry now is that many of them, as the saying goes, are “eating for two” – or even three. Inside some of those deer, seen only by God, are fawn embryos – and their developmental pace is picking up speed. By the end of May, those fawns will start hitting the ground.

When you step out of your house in the morning, are you hearing songbirds composing sonatas for their mates? It reminds me that turkeys are strutting and gobbling as the gobblers try to catch the interest of the hens. Remarkably, the harsh winter seems to have had little effect on the feathered armor of the big birds – much less than it had on the hair of the deer as they shed the gray-brown winter coat for the red-brown summer coat.  

When you see baby robins in the nest, will you realize most animals have been programmed to bear young in the spring, when optimum conditions prevail? If fawns were born and chicks were hatched in November, they’d never survive. The young of coyotes and foxes are also born in spring, and their transition to solid food is timed perfectly – it’s the same time the offspring of prey species enter the world.

Prey species must be prolific because their young suffer high mortality. A turkey hen, for example, will hatch a dozen or more poults and is lucky if half of them still survive come fall. By then their flesh has nourished ravenous prey animals. Yes, predators gotta eat.

Have you noticed how much more profound the changes to the trees are in the spring than in the fall? The beautiful colors in the autumn landscape are hard to miss as fall gives us a show that peaks for only about a week. If we have eyes to see it, spring gives us a show that lasts from now to June, and beyond.

The hills around us will soon turn pink as the leaf buds on the hardwood trees begin to swell. Before long, those hills gradually transition from pink to seemingly infinite shades of green – from the palest that’s virtually yellow, to the deepest green of the primeval hemlocks.

Every hardwood species has its own vernal hue, and proceeds at its own pace to a mature, vibrant green. To me, the greens of spring put on a show just as spectacular as the brilliant reds and oranges and yellows of fall. Why we don’t ooh and ahh at the variegated spring hills, like we do in fall?

The prophet Ezekiel said, “Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear” (Ezekiel 12:2). I hope our eyes aren’t failing to see the splendor of spring because we’re rebellious, or self-absorbed, or spiritually nearsighted. We tell ourselves to stop and smell the roses. Can we also tell ourselves to stop and soak in the beauty as we stand on the threshold of earth’s glorious green?

Jesus said in Matthew 13:13, “This is why I speak to them in parables: Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” Could there be a parable for us in those cryptic words? When glorious green breaks out all around us, will we see the trees of our hillsides proclaiming their praise for their creator in the way he made them to do? And will we join the chorus?


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