Glorious April brought the fool out in me with the warmest temperatures I’ve ever known so early in the year. The temptation was too great and I found myself wanting to take a short sunbath. Before the studies and scientists and sunscreens, my great-grandfather used to take every opportunity to catch a sunbath whenever it was warm out. He’d throw a blanket upon the ground and fully dressed he’d bathe in the sun for a while.
And that’s exactly what I did, except in a swimsuit, which seemed very strange to be donning in April around here. The blanket was cast upon the ground, the sunglasses were in place, a notebook was at my side – I was ready. That’s when I saw them – the teeniest, tiniest little flowers I’ve ever seen. The stems were no taller than an inch or two, and the fully-bloomed flowers were barely larger than tip of my pen, yet they were in full display all over the ground.
Now, why would humans profit from a flower so very tiny it only secured my notice once I was at ground level? It was then my foolish narcissistic humanity revealed itself, in glowing color. “It” isn’t always about us. I thought of an ant or beetle looking up at those flowers, admiring them as I do the blossoms of a cherry tree. I started investigating the ground at my blanket’s edge. Insects, barely noticeable even at ground level, stirred and made their way with intention, or so it seemed. It was as if they knew they had purpose. I ask you, if these tiny insects and flowers have purpose and grow and thrive as long as conditions will let them, why is it, as people, we doubt our own? Why is it, as people, we question our gifts and talents and paths we must take?
I may never understand why I was brought into being at this time and place. I’ve often wondered what it would have been like to have lived in another era, another country, be a different race. My life would certainly be different. Is it all just happenstance that I wasn’t born to be one of the 92 million African girls subject to female circumcision by the time I reached puberty? Is it all dumb luck that I wasn’t born on a farm in rural Iowa in the early 1800s, only to die months later from pneumonia? On a more positive note, and darn it all, why couldn’t I have been born into royalty with all the pomp and circumstance that accompanies it? Or born with the intelligence of Newton, the insight of Gandhi and the beguiling beauty of Cleopatra? My ego would go into overload and I’d be on a track for world domination – probably best that combination didn’t work out.
Instead, I was born in 1973 in The United States of America to a two-parent household. My outer covering would be described as white; my soul is open to interpretation. I’m just another human occupying space on planet Earth. Nothing more, nothing less. And yet, I sense purpose, a need to live with intention. If the insect has it, I know I’ve got it. Most of us live in a world where our vision only goes as far as our line of sight. Does the horizon have to be our limit?
This brings me back to my foolishness, sunbathing in April. As I lost myself in these thoughts, warmed by that fiery star in the sky, I dozed off and got my first sunburn of the year. Another realization came to me at that point – for as much as we learn and knowledge we gain, if not applied, we will never be wise.