All in how you look at it

‘What’s going on in the prairie?’ I asked my husband when he picked me up at the airport. I’d been gone a month. I figured the prairie would be flourishing. Imagine my surprise when he said, ‘Nothing. It looks just like it did when you left.’

Since it was dark when we drove past, I couldn’t dispute his assessment. But the next morning, I walked out to take a look for myself.

At first glance, I had to say he was right. The dried residue from last year’s plants still poked high above the spring’s new growth. But on second look, I saw that plants were in bloom, and not just a few. Many. How could he have missed them?

My husband drew his conclusion from the seat of his tractor mower. As always, the prairie rewards anyone who slows down to take a closer look. Even in early June, flowers were there, waiting to surprise and delight.

In the center of the prairie, bright blue spiderwart blossoms crowded the ends of slender stalks. A small clump of sweet black-eyed Susans foretold the blast of yellow that is on its way. A single purple coneflower added deep pink to the color mix. All these flowers were easy to overlook if you passed by too quickly.

It’s always interesting to me how different people can look at the same set of facts and arrive at entirely different conclusions. It’s true of politics. It’s true of the memories family members share – or don’t share – of living in the same household. It’s true of the prairie.

Each perception can be right. It all depends on how you look at it.

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