Life Is Fragile: Learn to See

by: Carol McClain

Friends and I hike the Smokies looking for Jack-in-the-Pulpits. Little Annie Margaret is the master. Me? Not so much.

Finding them is a matter of seeing.


Not really.

You have to look. You have to be present and be willing to see.

Are you near a stream–not on it or adjacent to it, but is there water nearby? Look for three leaflets rising on a stem one to three feet above the earth. Then move the leaves aside. Hidden in plain sight is the covered pulpit. Lift its canopy and there’s preacher Jack.

Our group stops other hikers and point it out. Their reaction is lackluster, their focus on the obvious.

To find them, you must train your eye. You must look. Want to see.

We never see what we don’t want to.

Psalm 104:24-5  tells us clearly we can see God through his creation.

“How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious timing with creatures beyond number–living things both large and small.”

But we humans look for the grand–the large rather than the small–the hawk, rather than the hummingbird. We stride past jack-in-the-pulpits, or we fail to smell the heaven-scent of spring beauties. We don’t revel in slime mold or the softness of moss. We focus our eyes on goals: A mountain to climb, a waterfall to view, miles to check off as we conquer mountain peaks.

Today as the corona pandemic invades our lives. If we’re wise, w learn to see  what matters.

  1. Old friends. Call theones we think of but neglect contacting. Who knows how long they’ll live–babies die as do ancients. Friends matter.
  2. Neighbors. See if we can help. Who knows, someone may just call you.
  3. Your family sequestered with you. Play a game, read together (I have a few good novels if you look on my book page! 😉 ) hold them close.
  4. Learn to bake/cook. The kitchen has always been the heart of the home. As I foray into the grocers, I’ve discovered the baking aisles decimated. This could be the glue that strengthens your family.
  5. Most important, see God. Look at the intricacy of a bird’s wing as it flutters to your feeder. Ignore the red cardinal, look at the female. Such subtle beauty, so much variation. Smell the spring beauty, taste the asparagus spearing its way through the soil. Intricate and beautiful all.

Along with the Bible–my obvious choice–Annie Dillard’s book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek shows the beauty in the mundane.





  1. vera deford says:

    you have a beautiful way of seeing life.

    • carol mcclain says:

      Thank you. I try to “see.” It takes practice, but even when we face hardships, we can see the good if we know to look for it.

  2. Nancy says:

    So good Carol!!! Loved it!!!

Leave a Reply to vera deford Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.