This lovely, autumn-time, native aster is blooming now in Pennsylvania. Here it grows happily along the edge of the woods in dappled light. It is called Aster Cordifolius or Blue Wood Aster. The thin stems send up big, long-lasting clouds of delicate, powder blue flowers. Each flower is about the size of a baby aspirin. The clusters sway or shake gently when there's a breeze.
In his essay, Wild Fruits, Henry David Thoreau quotes the nature-philosopher Pliny (though the quote isn't verified anywhere) "In minimus Natura praestat" - Nature excels in the least things. Aster Cordifolius affirms Pliny's claim.
And a Jesuit priest-author writes, "Christians live under the sign of the diminutive." Indeed, all throughout the Gospels, Jesus, referencing the small and least things, teaches us about the divine things that matter most.
- the tiny mustard seed that becomes a great bush
- the bit of yeast that leavens the whole dough
- the widow's coin of least value worth more than grandiose gifts
- a few loaves and some dried fish to feed thousands
- the little pearl bought by selling everything
- small children gathered by Jesus to teach us how to receive God's mercy
- the smallest of birds carefully observed by God
- the tiny child of insignificant Bethlehem, who is God with us.
We might look and listen for small and least today. God is near.
- In the morning as the leaves still drip with rain from last night's storm.
- A young mother in the park, feeding her toddler who sits in the stroller.
- The sales person so genuinely helpful.
- There are tropical plants and even fish in the islands throughout the mall.
- A shade of green today that I'd never seen before.
- The surprise of a polite driver who knew what the YIELD sign means.
- I heard church bells today...
- and wispy clouds against a blue, blue sky.
- A last robin hanging around made me think of spring for a moment.
- The tender story of an old black and white film.
- Out of season, the Magnolia has sent out two waxy, deep pink flowers.
- The radio song that brought back a lovely memory.
- How delightful - the first apples of autumn.
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