Spring is slowly coming to far Northern Minnesota. After the cold and dark winter, folks hope Spring will arrive over a weekend, but it’s actually a whole season unto itself––at least 3 months long. It’s a study in patience.

I have a traditional walk that I take in May, on Mother’s Day. It used to be something I did with my children when they were young. Now they’re adults, and I often go alone. The walk is a long hike in beautiful old growth maples. The trees are so big that once they leaf out, the full canopy will shade the understory and not much will grow there. Before the leaves open, the first flowers take advantage of the brief light and push forth.

They’re called Spring Beauties, and they are tiny. The plant is only an inch or so tall. The flower is less than half an inch wide, pointed white petals streaked with magenta veins. They are tiny in size but explosive in numbers––there could be millions carpeting the floor at your feet.

On this year’s Spring Beauty Walk, I stopped at a gentle hillside to admire the sea of flowers. The energy there was rich and magical, enchanting. I was struck by the realization that these flowers would spend their entire lives rooted in this mystical environment. I could stop and be enraptured, but I was on the move. I would go to the next hillside, the river, my home, the store, and they would still be drinking in and creating this fantastic world. Forever.

Standing there with them I thought, “I am Queen of the Fairies!” Their tiny size reminded me of minions, there to serve me. Immediately my brain sounded a screeching reversal, like a phonograph needle getting dragged across a record. Here to serve me?? Ha. What a species-centric notion! I am here to serve them. I am the one on two legs, the mobile one. I have the responsibility of stewardship, to make sure that this place where they live, this planet we all inhabit, continues to be viable. I announced loudly, to every single one of them, “I am here to serve you!” And the world was righted.