In praise of inconspicuous
It is finally spring, after a neverending winter. The trees are a riot of flowers–at least the magnolia, redbud, flowering pear, crabapple and dogwood. Other trees seem quite plain in comparison. My daughter wanted to know what was wrong with our “other tree.”
“What do you mean? What is wrong with it?” I ask.
“It’s plain. Why doesn’t it have flowers?”
The tree was planted before we moved here. Yet another ‘Autumn Blaze’ maple. It has flowers, but they are just something to sneeze at. And its glory won’t be for a few more months, when it turns the same fiery red as half the other trees in my neighborhood. Landscape architects refer to it as orchestrated. I find it creepy. Unnatural. In the forest, the trees change colors and shades at different times, marching to their unique internal clocks, as part of some atonalist’s symphony. But in suburbia, it must be controlled. It must be contrived. It must be the same.
Like the row of pears that litter the street, I am sure the road to hell is paved with Callery pears. And like good intentions, they too will go down in flames.
But really, this is about inconspicuous. Between the magnolias and daffodils, tulips and flowering quince, a tiny brilliant flower is overlooked, amongst the twisted branches of Harry Lauder’s walking stick.
Beautiful, isn’t it? And now that you know you’ve been missing this, look around: Notice everything else you’ve missed. And smile. Because now you know the greatest wonders aren’t in your face, and aren’t riotously loud. They are the little things that you didn’t know you were missing.