Sharing One of Nature's Little Secrets

“Look Mama and Daddy, the flowers close up at night and then open when the sun warms them up.”

Standing in the backyard with our little girl, we were looking at the tulips in our garden—a telltale sign of spring’s arrival.  That’s when she very matter-of-factly told us about how the tulips close at night and open during the day.

I had never before noticed how our tulips follow the transition from day to night.  I felt like my little girl let me in on one of nature’s secrets.

I asked her, “How’d you know that?”  She said that she just watches the flowers.  When she leaves the house for preschool in the morning, they are closed.  And when she returns home, the flowers are open.

So I looked it up.  Scientists call this process “nastic movements,” as flowers respond to various stimuli, such as sunlight.

Like most kids, our little girl didn’t need a textbook on flora and fauna to understand how flowers react to their environments.  She just relied upon her keen powers of observation.

And it got me thinking.  What else am I missing all around me?  What other phenomenon do I observe everyday without ever really noticing?

Our children—yours, mine, all of ours—have a special gift for observing the world.  They look at nature with discerning and open eyes.  They notice the little details, Mama Nature’s little secrets, like tulips opening and closing as day fades into night.

Now, when I leave the house in the morning, I look at our tulips—still closed from the night’s cold.  I smile, knowing that they will soon open their blossoms with the morning sun.  And I smile with gratitude, being able to soak in and see the world through our children's eyes.