How Stewardship Helps Create Nature's Miracles

Co-Created Camellia

Last night, I was blessed to see this amazing flower (that I photographed with my iPhone) and several more.  They were a gift to my friend Wendy at her birthday party from Chuck Ritter, who recently won best bloom in the Georgia National Fair.  All evening I kept stealing glances of the spectacular blossoms he lovingly bred and raised.  I knew he was totally smitten by Camellias, even more than I am, and when I looked him up on the internet when I got home, I discovered I was correct.  Unfortunately, I do not possess a green thumb and keeping flowers alive has never been my strong suit, which is why I paint and photograph them.  Yet, I love them just the same.  When I look into the heart of a flower, I connect with the  regenerative principle of life.  I experience passion and gratitude for being alive.  And that is when I look at normal Camellias.

Chuck's flowers are different.  They are huge, and boast incredibly rich colors and velvety textures.  Viewing them was a multi-sensory experience I will never forget.  Fortunately for me, Wendy gave me one to take home.  I was mesmerized by it for the rest of the evening, and when I awoke it was the first thing I saw on my bedside table.  What a miracle it was to behold.  This afternoon, I went to the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, where the Camellia's I loved so much around Valentine's Day were past their prime.  Not only that, I don't think any were every as sumptuous as this flower.  I had to wonder if having seen it would spoil me for other, ordinary Camellias in the future. Hopefully, I will not become jaded and will continue to appreciate every Camellia I see at the start of spring each year.  They are always special to me because they herald the explosion of blossoms throughout the spring and summer that follows the dormant phase of winter.  Yet, I am sure part of me will always dream of being in the presence of such a Camellia as this.

Spending the past twenty-four hours with this beauty made me realize that it's being was no accident.  Chuck clearly loves raising Camellias and takes his job very, very seriously.  His bio said he risked his life savings, marriage, and everything else for his passion for Camellias.   (I think he was joking, but when you love something this much it sometimes does throw other aspects of your life a bit out of balance.  I know.)  This flower would not have come into being without Chucks stewardship and care.  As a breeder, he in fact co-created this miracle.  How wonderful to think that when we align ourselves with nature, hold her in our hearts with love, and toil on her behalf, we can create something even more special than nature might produce alone.  So often, our presence is a detriment to the natural world and our own existence–think genetically modified foods and climate change  It did my heart so much good to see that man can make help create soul-nourishing beauty and positively impact the physical and spiritual worlds.  Thank you Chuck!