My grandmother loved orchids. She liked them, she said, because of their drama and elegance, their tropical exuberance. She also liked the way some orchids grow on little more than air and water, finding a place in the crook of the branch of a tree.
Another relative collected cacti. She must have had about 150 varieties in her closed-in porch. She liked they way cacti come in so many shapes and sizes and colors, and the unexpected beauty of their blooms, and the way some have sharp needles and others are almost like velvet to the touch.
A friend at work loved African violets. She even built a special shelf to hold them in her cubicle. At last count, she had 17 plants, most flowering simultaneously. She liked their resilience, the delicate hues of purple and lilac and pink and violet they offered, the contrast with their thick leaves.
I like mushrooms. I am intrigued by the way they appear unexpectedly from rot and decay. I like the way they proclaim that in every circumstance, no matter how dark and dank, there is the possibility of life and growth. I like their mystery, their reputation for flavor, medicine, and poison. I like that there are such things as glow-in-the-dark mushrooms, fairy rings, stink horns.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, ” begins the Bible, and then it continues: “God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:1,11,12)
The diversity of orchids, cacti, violets and mushrooms is astounding… and yet they are only a fraction of all God has created.
“How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all.” (Psalm 104:24) Let us rejoice in what God has made.