If There’s No Time for Wonder

It’s a busy time of year with back-to-school, teaching assignments, and writing. Add in cleaning, meal planning, clothing shopping (children grow!), and connecting with neighbors, and it seems like there’s no time to reflect or truly enjoy resting in moments of wonder. 

I need wonder. I run on wonder.

So as I sit at my desk completing the least wonder-inducing activities of all including administrative work, I see the vase of eucalyptus to my left. I love the smell of eucalyptus. I love that once, my mother told me that it would keep spiders away, so for years, I kept eucalyptus by my bedside.

Eucalyptus has always been by my side in one way or another. Whenever my husband and I moved to a new home–or even if we had an extended stay somewhere–he always purchased some eucalyptus to make the place just like home. 

I stop for a few minutes to learn about this strange little plant that’s not little at all. In fact, it’s one of the tallest plants on earth. It drains much water from the soil (good to prevent mosquitos and malaria). So far, I’m not filled with wonder yet, but then I learn how most eucalyptus trees shed their bark once a year.

This photo is a Rainbow Eucalyptus that looks like this when the bark sheds.

Photo courtesy of Forest and Kim Starr 

A rainbow inside! Underneath the boring bark is this? I have some wonder now.

But then, then, I read how the eucalyptus survives fire that can often occur in the Australian forest. You will not believe this: The plant keeps dormant shoots that only germinate after they’ve been triggered by the heat of the fire. The plant has a hidden inner plan especially designed to spring to life in case of fire. I repeat: The plant has fire insurance.

Oh, I want to be like the eucalyptus! Burn me–by insult, injury, disappointment, or loss, and I know how to send out new shoots that wait for this kind of heat. And when I feel stripped bare, it’s only to reveal the rainbow. I love my eucalyptus plant! It does so much more than keep the spiders away!

I had time for wonder today after all. There’s nothing to fear in this kind of world where loss showcases beauty and what came to destroy only precipitates new life.

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