Fortunately this morning my disappointment gave way to intrigue quite quickly. I’ve never realised how many varieties of seaweed there are and soon found myself immersed in studying their patterns and colours, texture and shapes. I had an unexpectedly beautiful morning engrossed in seaweed!
And their slimy coating, that’s to protect the seaweed from sun damage at low tide. Wide research is presently underway to see how this gel can be used as a natural sunscreen for human use to eliminate the need for chemical sun protection.
It makes me ponder on how many oceans of discoveries are still to be made of all that is hidden in the genius of the natural world.
Children don’t do that. They are masters at distraction. They live 100% in the moment with all their senses on high alert, taking in everything around them. They will chase a butterfly, collect acorns and chat to passers by all on their way to wherever they’re going. They have no agenda; life is a constant journey of discovery and to them everything is priceless.
Etienne was childlike in his ability to drinking in all that was around him. Wherever the battles took him he was captivated by the magnificent gardens of Europe. The flowers, trees and landscaping were unlike anything he’d ever seen before. When he returned to France after the war he is said to have beaten his swords into gardening implements and begun setting out what was to become one of the most famous French gardens of his era. He went on to become an acclaimed horticulturist and founded the Royal Institute of Horticulture at Fromont.
Trees were his first love and he planted an arboretum of exotic trees including two magnolias, cultivars from China and Japan. Through cross-pollination he birthed what would become the much loved Magnolia Soulangiana, with its spectacular pink-blushed white flowers now treasured throughout the world.
One stands outside my bedroom window and for 3-4 weeks each August I get to enjoy the depth of its beauty and haunting fragrance. It reminds me of a man who saw beauty beyond the horrors of life. He chose to invest his life in creating more beauty, with little realisation of the enormity of his legacy. At the end of winter each year when my heart is longing for Spring, Magnolia Soulangiana bursts out in gardens all around Sydney and I know Spring is not far away.
How often I miss the best because I'm expecting something else. I want to become as unblinkered as a child, as opened to beauty as that fine French officer and to always be able to see the priceless things that surround me even amidst the hard things of life.