It’s Illegal to Pick These

My husband and I travel to find the lady slipper orchids in the forest. We look back to 2011 when our friend pointed them out in May. We aren’t sure we’ll find them again, but we do. And I go back to read about the beauty of these plants and what they symbolize to me. Enjoy!

Why You Belong Right Here

I’m walking with my neighbor in the woods.

Lady Slippers in the Woods

All of a sudden, she cries out, “The lady slippers have bloomed!”  She’s pointing to the earth, and at first, I do not see anything.

Then, I see them.

Pink Lady Slipper Blooming

I don’t even really know what I’m seeing or why it matters.   

Lady Slipper Reaches Out

My friend tells me something wondrous.  Lady slipper orchids are extraordinary.

Are You Looking at Me? 

It’s illegal to uproot them.  It’s actually against the law to harm these wild orchids.  I learn two amazing facts that explain why.

First, the US Forest Service reports that lady slippers depend upon a very special fungus in the forest that allows the seed to grow.  The fungus cares for the seed–passing on nutrients–until it grows older.  And when the plant matures, it then sends nutrients back to the fungus through its roots.  That symbiosis will be destroyed if we harvest the orchids. Even more, the trees rely on the fungus!

Second, I learn that the intricate system of orchid roots means that if you take even one plant away, you harm the entire network of orchid plants. 

Lady Slipper Family

Every single one matters.  And the location isn’t an accident.

As I think about the impossibly complex design that allows these orchids to thrive, I consider my own community.  Every single person nourishes each other, and we’re here for a reason.  There’s nothing accidental about it. The conditions for our growth exist only here.

Doesn’t God tell us that He “searches out the exact places where we live” (Acts 17) and that we are “all part of one body”? (Romans 12)

You are here for a marvelous reason.  We need you!  And even when these growing conditions seem like, well, fungus, this is what we require to thrive.  

Living with flair means really seeing ourselves as a community and knowing why it matters.  We are part of each other. 

Finally, it took another person to reveal this beauty to me.  I would have never noticed these lady slipper orchids without her.  Living with flair means that when our neighbors don’t see it, we show them. 

Journal:  Do we really believe we are part of one another?


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One thought on “It’s Illegal to Pick These

  1. This past Saturday, I was on my way to a meeting but had time to stop for a leisurely coffee; I noticed a friend from different community sitting in the corner. We had not seen each other in a year. I confess I did not get to the meeting but gloried in our conversation.
    Then, I stopped in a re-sale shop and found a coffee cup to go with a saucer I had been harboring for 16 years; too pretty to toss and holding vague sentiment.
    At the hardware store, the gentleman who had helped me with great advice for a project, was on his way to load some soil into my pick-up and decided he could apply a bit of grease to the 'stops' and end an annoying noise for me.
    Somehow it was like eating a whole handful of lusciousness, these unexpected, lovely gifts. Riches for me!

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