Lessons From Nature

For the past month or so, I have been actively seeking out and enjoying the stunning wildflowers that are in bloom throughout Southwestern Ohio. I have always enjoyed hiking and nature, but this year, I have made it a point to learn more about native wildflowers.

This Spring, I have spent hours walking along trails and creeks, throughout six different counties, learning about each wildflower that I happen to encounter. I have taken hundreds of photos and am slowly gaining more knowledge about these beautiful miracles that grow along the highway, in pastures and meadows, as well as in deep, cool woodlands.

Overall, I have to say that the whole experience encourages me to reflect on diversity in general. There are so many different wildflowers just in my little corner of the world. The diversity I have been experiencing with wildflowers doesn’t even take into account the wide variety of trees, butterflies, insects, fish, birds, and mammals that are occupying the same land. It is truly awe-inspiring to take time and reflect on the incredibly diverse nature world that surrounds us.

While I take in the rich diversity of the wildflowers I have encountered, I struggle to understand how anyone can believe that there is just one way to do anything. So much bigotry, prejudice, and hate are based on the idea that there is one, absolute, and right way to exist in the world. Only one way to look. Only one way to love. Only one way to worship. Only one way to believe. Only one way to live.

If you will humor me, I would like to share what I have learned from the official wildflower of Ohio, called the trillium. I have always known how to identify trillium because they are a unique, three-leaved plant with a single white flower found in the woods where I grew up. At least, that is what I have always thought. What I have learned recently, is that there are eight different types of trillium, just in Ohio. While some have white flowers, other have red flowers. Some are tall and some are short. Some have flowers that are upright, some are drooping. Some have solid leaves and some have speckles. Yet despite their differences, they are all trillium. (Click here to read more and see pictures of each kind).

The Brazilian author Paulo Coelho said, “In a forest of a hundred thousand trees, no two leaves are alike. And no two journeys along the same path are alike.” This sums up the belief I have, to the very core of my being, that diversity enriches our world and our lives. I believe that the same diversity that is reflected all around us in the natural world is a model or road map for what the human world should look like, as well. Despite our differences, we are all human.

P.S. Hate and violence have been in the national and international headlines, seemingly on a daily basis. I encourage you to read some blogs from our archives, such as After Darkness, There Will Be Light and Look For The Helpers.


  1. Steve Duff May 1, 2019 at 9:36 am - Reply

    Laura, your words are both moving and inspirational! Thank you for writing so eloquently about the diversity in our world. I’ve always believed that I can better understand the creator by observing creation itself. How could someone who created all of these thousands of different types of flowers, create only one way to understand him/her? I’m ok with there being multiple paths up the mountain, and your article brings that to mind.

  2. Brandon May 30, 2019 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Hi Laura. This post made me think of poison ivy. It can be a beautiful plant and the diversity of its forms is remarkable. But I find it hard to live beside it. It has caused me suffering in the past and I fear it. Its profundity encroaches on my yard and my children’s play-space.

    People too can wound us with their honest thriving. Carly’s Dad has a new job in retirement selling guns. He is good at it and is affirmed by it. He loves it. She is afraid of guns and their harms. Her soul feels pinched by a thing that makes his sing.

    Some diversity is difficult to embrace.


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