There are times when the whole story is never available to those who walk on clear pathways.
For it is only behind the row of wood and across the stream where furtive secrets are best kept.
Over the next ridge, quiet and unseen, there is a birth taking place.
It is the result of the union of day and night,
of rain and sun,
of tumbling water and meandering streams,
of ice cold winter melted by the warmth of spring.
This is where memory embedded in spiraling strands, branch and unfold into the glistening morning of yet another new day.
The same has occurred for billions of seasons, however, this is not simply renewal,
It is the next stride toward the rise of what is truly new.
For tomorrow brings yet another note in the chorus,
another highlight on the canvass,
another wakening from the ephemeral dreams of yesterday.
I place my steps carefully so as not to disturb the sounds of beauty around me.
I direct my glances to behold the fascination of my youth and the fortitude of my age.
It is all contained in this place.
I see it now, only because I am brave enough to seek clarity in my vision.
Yet, what I attempt to see is as invisible and fleeting as the breeze that plays with my shirttail.
As I turn there is something that runs laughing toward the stream under the bridge.
Veiled in nature’s iridescence, there are children of another kind here.
Though unrecognized by most, wildflowers bloom in their footprints and branches wave cheerfully above their passing.
The games of make-believe they play eventually manifest as uncultivated wildlife.
Under rain and sun, and hail and thunderstorms, their glee prevails upon every change.
Near the frontier of their indelible joy we encounter the things to be marveled at, and leaned by all.
Here, there are things formerly undiscovered that are now continuously revealed to those who endeavor to play their wondrous games.
And those new things discovered, where only yesterday a mysterious whisper on a moonless night,
have now become love's furtive glance in the yellow brilliance of another cresting dawn.
Inspired by an afternoon at Fernwood Botanical Gardens. Buchanan, Michigan.
— Writing and photography by Joseph Maas
All photography on this page was taken at Fernwood Botanical Gardens in Southwest Michigan.