At the table with our granddaughter during one of our happy conversations, I mentioned something about new leaves and blossoms coming out soon on the trees. She looked out the window at the gray brown barren branches.
"Where do the leaves come from?" she asked.
It was hard to believe in an icy cold world with a blank, gray sky, that blossoms and new growth were just a few weeks away. How do you explain that within the dark, brittle, frozen stem are tiny green leaves, curled up, soon to unfurl and wave in the wind? That soon, those branches will be hidden in an explosion of leaves? How do you explain that new life and growth are part of the seasons of life? How do you explain that a tiny seed, planted in the dirt will become a red, juicy tomato? How do you explain that her new baby brother will be a six foot man someday?
She has seen five annual cycles in her life. She has smelled spring daffodils. She has splashed in a wading pool in the summer heat. She has played in piles of colorful leaves bigger than herself. She has watched snow drifting down, coloring the world in white.
And she asks, "Where do the leaves come from?"
The buds are there, already, hidden inside that lifeless looking branch. Remember in The Secret Garden, when Mary asked Dickon if the garden was all dead? He cut a branch to show her the green, the wick, he called it, the life hidden within. Waiting. Hibernating through the cold. Waiting.
The buds were formed last summer, part of the process that pushed the leaves to change color and fall off in the coming cold of winter. The life is already there. Waiting.
An answer for her is not the horticultural, scientific explanation. It is, "Wow! Amazing."
Her question made me stop and think. To be amazed by the beauty of simple things, things I take for granted, a process assumed, unnoticed, unless I pay attention, in awe, to simple questions, and listen to the beauty around me.