A Story About Ferns: Seeing Beauty in Everyday Objects

All hail the fern!

All hail the fern!

In the Pacific Northwest, ferns are a kind of everyday object. They're everywhere, especially if you go into any woodsy park. Or take a neighborhood walk. There are a lot on my tree-filled suburb. On trail runs, I'd cruise by areas that I called Fern Gully. I tolerated them because I knew up ahead there was a stand of white-bark trees that make my inner Pocahontas swoon. In short: I didn't care two diddlies about ferns.  

Until ... until...

I met my husband. When I heard him talk about his love for ferns with misty eyes, I thought he was joking. I didn't know it was possible to have a fern fetish. In time, I understood.

It was February. My husband went to trim the line of overgrown scraggle-puss ferns along his driveway. He cut them down to nubs, you wouldn't have know anything had been growing there. "That's better," I thought to myself, after he removed the green-brown overgrown mops.

Then we waited. Spring arrived.

What a fun surprise! When ferns grow back they're adorable. I loved watching their skinny little fronds rise out of the ground and curl like cutie-q's. How did I never notice these babies? Don't they look like little music notes?

Is that baby the cutest thing ever?

Is that baby the cutest thing ever?

I loved watching them grow back over the weeks. Then I noticed how ferns were growing back in their full bouquet-ness everywhere. THEN, I started noticing different types of ferns. Pointing them out to my husband. Liking the lemon-lime decorative ferns the most, discovering new ones. Now I appreciate ferns. When my husband comes home with new ferns I rush out to have a look. 

I  love how knowing the bigger story of something can change your relationship with that person place or thing. It happened for me with the artist Mark Rothko. I thought his rectangles of color were puzzling until I ventured into this enlightening online tour of his art and life. I'm a rabid Rothko fan now.

And back to ferns. Look at this jaunty junior uncurling itself in our rockery.

A fern bouquet growing out of the ground.

Now when I take a walk two things happen: I notice the ferns. And I see the new life uncurling inside the straggle of a well-worn fern.

See it?

Old gnarly fern--but look closer, can you see the newbies?