Friday, March 19, 2021

Pushing Into A New Arena


From birth through my 18th birthday, I lived on a farm in southeastern Minnesota. I found the season uniquely fascinating. Spring included increased activity. Preparing the planting equipment, purchasing and hauling seed, and the miracle of green shoots pushing out of the dark soil provided work and wonderment. We also had a large garden.

My task was to pull weeds away from the vegetables plants. Sometimes it was very easy. Other times it was frustratingly difficult. I could not differentiate between the producing plant and the pesky weed. As much as I marveled at the growth of spring, my ability to find satisfaction in raising or tending to plants never materialized.  

Over the last decade I have grown in my appreciation of flowering plants. No, I do not raise them. I have no skill in that area! Instead, I look for them and many times am surprised by their poking through rocky areas, brightening the prairie in soft hues, or enjoying a walk through a botanical garden. The array of colors brightens my mood. I ponder the strength and determination of that seed, that shoot, to push its way into a new arena and majestically blossom.  I also contemplate the adaptations that seed made in order to flourish in its setting. 

Saturday, March 20th, I will again direct an ultra distance foot event in the Sheyenne National Grasslands near McLeod, ND. The event is called END-SURE. Participants traverse either 100k or 50k of the North Country Trail. This has been extremely difficult, as of late. COVID-19 cancelled last year's event. In 2018 + 2019, the snow was deep, wet, and abundant. Those events were referred to as "slop fests" which caused rerouting, cold, soggy , and dedicated runners. This year is totally different. The snow has melted, the North Country Trail is clearly visible, and people are willing to participate amid pandemic precautions and adaptations. The weather factor of note is 20-30mph winds. This will tax the 100k participants as they have half of their distance in open, wind swept prairie.  

The determination of participants to physically struggle, push themselves forward, navigate the emotional roller coaster, and eventually reach their goal is reminiscent of the shoot pushing through the fertile, cold, and hard soil to display itself. The display on the surface may not initially appear beautiful. Yet, there is an inner awesomeness that radiates from deep inside. The struggle to achieve, the struggle to express mental and physical endurance, emanates from each person. It is my pleasure to observe that human beauty in this ritual of spring. 

Every season of life is an opportunity to explore the magnificence of creation, both in people and in nature!