No matter where my family goes these days, I seem always to be lagging behind. Like the little child, dawdling, poking along, walking at a snail’s pace.
But that’s OK.
I notice what the others don’t see.
Like milkweeds, for example. If I had simply been out for the sole purpose of an evening walk at the River Bend Nature Center in Faribault recently, I may not have spotted these plants that so captivated my interest as a child, and still do.
So what if my husband had already disappeared around a bend in the path. I would catch up. I had Asclepias to study.
I thrilled in the veins running through the milkweed leaves, in the clusters of purple blossoms, in the pale evening sky presenting the perfect backdrop for a photo.
Milkweeds. Memories for me of childhood days harvesting seed pods from fields. Fingers stroking downy fluff, soft as a kitten’s fur.
And then, one Christmas, I cut an elfish child in a glittery red cape from the front of a greeting card, taped a toothpick to the back and then poked the elfin into a dried milkweed pod, upon the drift of snow I imagined there. This, the perfect Christmas gift.
So these were my thoughts as I paused along River Bend Nature Center’s prairie path to appreciate the milkweed, so essential to the life of monarch butterflies.
And the plant of memories for me.