My husband often brings me flowers from his walks back to our pasture. I don’t expect much from his winter walks, but the other day he surprised me with a bouquet of flowers…not in a vase, but on his iPhone. They were frost flowers.
Before we moved to our farm I had never seen or heard of frost flowers. The first winter we walked the land and saw these ice formations dotting the ground. Since then we’ve learned that they come only with certain plant species and just at particular times of the year–when the unfrozen ground meets the freezing atmosphere and the capillary action of freezing water creates these fleeting frosty blossoms.
It’s kind of a miraculous sight–easy to miss. If we didn’t walk by those particular flowers at that certain hour on that certain day, we would never see the icy display. And as soon as it comes it is gone. Like with the ephemeral trilliums that fill our woods in the spring, we must seize the day…carpe the big fat diem, as I might say…in order to behold this bouquet of icy petals.
So much of life is ephemeral…transitory: a newborn’s first days; the burst of a sunrise; a newlyweds’ honeymoon; a meteor shower; a blustery summer thunderstorm; a glorious sunset. But because it is short-lived we do not reject it, but cherish it all the more.
At this Christmas season I’m thinking of the sudden short-lived sights that the shepherds saw on their walk back on the pasture land that night–a blaze of heavenly light, a talking angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, a young virgin mother and her husband, a newborn King in a feeding trough. This was their ephemeral bouquet on that night.
And so at this wintery, frosty season when busyness could take my attention away from the miraculous sights and insights in front of me, I want to be open-eyed, open-handed, open-hearted, to receive what will only be offered in this fleeting time we have on earth.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:14 ESV