Daylily reminds us to rejoice in the day the Lord has made

Wild Daylily HEMEROCALLIS FULVA

Wild Daylily
HEMEROCALLIS FULVA

By Orrin Morris

Charles Dickens penned a famous first line that states, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”   That is the way I look at our current situation — locally, nationally and internationally.

There are many good things happening all about us and around the world.  At the same time, there are some terrible things occurring.  We make a serious mistake if we focus on one to the exclusion of the other.

A verse in Psalm 118 has been a guide for me from the time I memorized it in Sunday School over 70 years ago:

This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it” (v. 24).

This is not a Pollyanna response, but a challenge to accept the fact that God gives life.  If God wanted me to live in another era, He would have so chosen.  Thus, I view “this day” as His affirmation that my uniqueness is needed now to make a difference.  Since I am His adopted child by grace, I have tasks to perform that should benefit those with whom I have a relationship.

Make this verse a buffer against being overwhelmed by the evil that surrounds us, because, “This is the day which the Lord has made…”  And, speaking of “days,” let us examine the common daylily.

The wild daylily, often called the orange daylily, is the lazy gardener’s best friend. These flowers range from 2 to 6 feet tall and require very little attention. They adapt to their surroundings, wherever there is water, and grow at an exponential rate every year.

The wild daylily is a hybrid from Eurasian species.  It does not produce seeds, as do other species of the lily family.  Instead, it spreads from the tough rootstocks.  When the rootstock must be divided, a hatchet or limb saw is needed.  They are unlike the bulbs or corms of the other lilies that are more easily divided by hand.

Another difference within the lily family is the way it blooms on a single leafless stalk.  Stalks of other lilies have various configurations of leaves: in whorls (Turk’s-cap lily), opposites (tiger lily) and triplets (most trilliums).  The leaves of the daylily are long and sword-like, rising from the base of the stalk.

A third difference is that the wild daylily bloom is short-lived.  It blooms from May to July, but may grow earlier or later depending on the season.  The rusty-orange bloom is trumpet-shaped and generally has six petals.

A daylily’s habitat includes fields and waste places. There are large clusters of daylilies throughout Rockdale County, and clusters usually indicate the site of a former homestead.

Just as a daylily finds a home wherever it grows, find a home in God today.  This day is yours, so rejoice that God has counted you worthy to serve Him in it.

Rabbit’s Clover reflects God’s Intimacy

Rabbit's Foot Clover Trifolium arvense

Rabbit’s Foot Clover
Trifolium arvense

By Orrin Morris

In chapter 16 of Matthew’s Gospel, we have an account of Jesus asking His disciples for input on who they thought the general public perceived him to be. They responded by naming John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.

He then turned to them and asked, “But who do you say that I am?”

Peter, being the oldest, responded, “Thou art the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him “Blessed are you because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Then He added, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock (the confession) I will build My church; and the gates of Hell shall not overpower it” (vv 13-18).

Churches within God’s Kingdom come in all sizes and varieties. None are perfect but all are committed to proclaiming the good news of God’s love and redemption made possible through the Easter message. Empowered by God’s Spirit, the true believer strives to live the kind of life exemplified by His Son.

Generally, I have been part of a small church (attendance under 200) where most members know each other, pray daily for those with special needs, makes visits to comfort and support one another. Such a congregation meets a personal need that some of you might call the “warm and fuzzies.” I like that kind of a sense of belonging. I guess that is why I like the wildflower for today, a warm and fuzzy wildflower, the Rabbit’s Foot Clover.

Rabbit’s foot clover is one of the most delicate of the several varieties of clover. It is small and the light lavender and pink of the blooms gives the appearance of a gray or even a dead weed. Thus, it is easily overlooked. In fact, it is likely that not many of you have even stopped to take a close look.

Rabbit’s foot clover is so abundant and prolific in the spring that no damage to the species will occur if you pulled up a handful of the plants to make a careful inspection. Here is what to look for.

The leaves are three-part like most clovers, however, rabbit’s foot clover leaves are narrow rather than the broad spoon-shaped leaflets of the other clovers. Most of those leaves are found at the axil where branching occurs. Note also that the stem and branches are covered with soft hair.

At the tops of the stems and branches are the flowers. Technically, this is a fuzzy head that measures 3/4-inch tall and 3/8-inch wide. The actual flower is a pea-like bloom about 3/16-inch in diameter buried beneath long hairs that dominate the head.

The rabbit’s foot clover is an annual and thrives in dry fields and roadsides. It starts blooming in May and may be found as late as October.

Religious research conducted several years ago revealed that many members of very large churches were participants in small groups, for example, Bible study groups, music ensembles, cancer survivors clubs, grief support clubs, and book clubs, to name a few warm and fuzzy opportunities. Of course, there are those who prefer large setting in which they, like rabbit’s foot clover, can be overlooked and left alone.

Whatever circumstance you find yourself in this year, may your journey of faith be empowered by God’s spirit to live the kind of life exemplified by Jesus.

Rugged Diamorpha inspires a rugged faith

DIAMORPHA diamorpha smallii

DIAMORPHA
diamorpha smallii

By Orrin Morris

Many artists are fascinated by the sunrise and sunsets in the Rocky Mountains. Shadows, silhouettes, cloud formations among peaks, and bright reflections provide spectacular scenes to draw and paint.

We live in a unique area, too. We are surrounded by the largest number of granite outcroppings in Georgia. Within the area from Stone Mountain to Panola Mountain, to the Georgia International Horse Park, and on to Loganville there may be as many as 100 outcrops.  Granite was created by magma and thus contains many different combinations of crystals. A wide range of plants grow atop or in close proximity to the outcrops. However, early settlers found farming very difficult.

The thin layers of soil were sandy, thus causing major crop losses during dry weather. Furthermore, large sections of a person’s farm could not be used and runoff from heavy rains washed trenches through adjacent plowed fields.

Was poverty the norm? According to urban observers, the answer was “yes,” but to the locals, the norm was adaptation, and survival techniques abounded. Rock quarries and gristmills dotted the area making the most of the natural resources.  But churchgoers found the Biblical account of creation hopeful.

Genesis 1:12 reads, “And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”

Survival was possible because God said it was good.

Our wildflower for today will soon appear on most outcrops and will inspire a faith that has survived in times of both poverty and plenty: Diamorpha.

The diamorpha is red in February and March but when it actually blooms, the flower will be white.  During the winter, patches of diamorpha appear in the indentions atop the granite outcrops in our area.

One Sunday in February, I visited a nearby outcrop and inspected the red patches where thousands of 3/16-inch ball-shaped plants awaited longer daylight and warmer breezes. By April, a second visit revealed white blooms had begun to appear, as sketched.

Diamorpha, also called elf orpine, when springing to life, causes stems to rise 3 inches. The light red stem has deep red 1/8-inch leaves that alternate for about 2 inches, after which branching occurs. The tiny leaves are oval-shaped, thick and have the appearance of little hot water bottles.  Along and at the ends of the branches, tiny white blooms (1/4-inch) form. These have four petals, eight stamens and a pistil. When the buds first open, four of the stamens are attached to the center vein of the petal. The pistil looks like a fuzzy white ball in the center of the bloom.

As the flower matures the stamens seem to pop loose, scattering pollen. Within a day or so the pistil splits into four seed cases (carpels). Shortly after this the petals drop and the plant dies.

Throughout summer and fall the tiny stem stays erect to hold the seeds aloft. The granite becomes heated and the summer showers that occasionally fill the indention with rain quickly evaporate. The tiny stems gallantly hold the seeds high to prevent their germination.

As winter approaches, the stems collapse and the seed cases discharge the seeds. The late fall and winter rains cause the seeds to sprout what appears to be tiny red balls and the cycle begins again.

As the economy has shifted from agriculture and cattle to manufacturing and service industries, the outcroppings offer us a useful venue for nature excursions and study. Some, like the one I frequently visit, unfortunately have been sites for dumping garbage and other waste.

God did not just create the world and walk away. He is still at work, lovingly watching over His creation. Not even a sparrow falls without His awareness. (Luke 12:5) More than that illustration, God watches over us and surrounds us with love. We would do well if we were better stewards of these outcrops.