ARTWORK > Paintings

Consider the [Trout] Lilies...
Consider the [Trout] Lilies...
Acrylic on Canvas
8' x 4'

The first spring in our Clintonville home I discovered my backyard blanketed in trout lilies. These spring ephemerals were almost camouflaged by their spotted brown and green leaves. I recognized them as a gift that came with our old house, the flowers themselves sparkling jewels scattered throughout our lawn. After that first spring, it became policy to never mow the lawn in the spring until the Trout Lilies had faded. Trout lilies are fragile and vulnerable. They grow in community. A single bulb puts up a single leaf, which is all it shows for seven years. Only then does the second leaf appear along with the blossom, nodding, white petaled with tints of lilac, graceful, shy, “with their spotted bodies and their six-antlered bright faces,” as Mary Oliver said in her poem titled “Trout Lilies.” Flowers like these feel a little bit like us. Mow us down and we might be gone for good. Otherwise we bloom quietly in the sun until we’re swallowed up in the shadows again, doing it all with good humor and polka dots. I especially like the words Jesus spoke, recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving.” That’s a contemporary retelling of course. The more traditional wording records his words this way, “Consider the lilies…”