One glorious spring morning a few years ago, I went out for my morning walk through the neighborhood. On the particular route that day I passed the little brook that feeds into Indian Lake. I glanced down to see a cheerful group of bright yellow daffodils growing on the steep banks of the stream. And, lo and behold, growing between the rocks in the streambed itself were bright red tulips! The water, swelled by spring run-off, was swirling all around the bobbing crimson heads.
How did the tulip bulbs get into the brook in the first place? Did they self-propagate, or did somebody throw them away? More important, how could they possibly grow in the water like that?
I must take a picture of this, I thought, since nobody will believe it’s possible for flowers to grow in the water like that. I completed my walk, but as soon as I reached home I told my family, “I have to go back and take a picture. You’re not going to believe what I saw. Do you want to come with me? We’ll be back in 20 minutes.” I was babbling as much as that brook.
I bent over to grab the camera from its shelf below the television, and a terrific pain shot up my spine. I lay down on the floor and didn’t move.
Six weeks later, I had recovered to the point at which I could walk. Of course, by that time the tulips were long gone and I was distraught to have missed the chance to record that once-in-a-lifetime picture. And it was indeed a one-time-only event. I have gone past that brook umpteen times every spring over the past dozen years, never to see the phenomenon again.
With apologies to William Wordsworth I think I was meant not to photograph the phenomenon, just to keep it in my mind’s eye forever. Perhaps it was God’s way of telling me to live in the moment.