A Reflection From Nature

A liquidambar tree grows in my front yard. One day I noticed a green sprig with tiny leaves growing in a pot nearby which still had in it the soil from some discarded plant. I looked at the leaves on the little sprout and I looked at the leaves on the mature tree which grew beside it. Could it be, I wondered, that a seed from the mature tree was growing in the pot? Of course I nurtured it and the miracle of nature did the rest. Now it has a sturdy trunk and stands about six feet tall. Soon it will fulfill its purpose and provide, shade and beauty and vibrant life.

The seed of the liquidambar is round and covered with little spike-like projections. What was it telling me? It had been hidden and unnoticed until its tiny branches put forth its leaves. Yet all that time , buried in the soil, it was teeming with new life and growth.

What is unnoticed in my life? Is it the person next to me in the movies, the mechanism of my eyes which give me sight? Is it the breath I take every few seconds? Is it the clerk who serves me at the bank or the grocery store? Is it the relationship between nature, the human and the cosmos? Is it the homeless person camping in the vacant lot behind our house or the bee which pollinates our garden?

The seed of the liquidambar was buried and unnoticed but it was vibrant with life as it poured forth its energies to birth the tree that lives in my back yard.. Once noticed it was nurtured and loved. Webster defines the word notice by stating that to notice is “to treat with courteous attention.” I ask myself, “How can I treat with courteous attention all that is unnoticed in my daily life?” I find this question fruitful for meditation and a call to “courteous attention.”

It seems the poet Basho (1644-1694) sensed the beauty and value of the unnoticed while he was walking in the mountains. He was surrounded by the majesty of the mountains but he was looking down. He wrote:

“On the mountain path,
what is this special thing?
A simple violet.

Thank you, Cosmic Breath, for the unnoticed among us.