I spent time yesterday morning talking a long walk around the Lincoln Park area of Chicago. Some quick takes:
Walking around the Garfield Park Conservatory, I was struck (as I often am) by the variety of plant and tree life that exists in this amazing world in which we live. 170 different kinds of cacti, 75 kinds of palm, numerous varieties of orchids – each beautiful in its own way. Did you do this just so we could enjoy the beauty?, I ask God, as I look in wonder.
Speaking of orchids, which I’ve loved since my time in Thailand where they abound, I learned that they are a type of epiphyte. That was not a term I was familiar with. An epiphyte is a plant that lives by growing on other plants, but it is not a parasite, in that it gets its water and nutrients from the air. I’m not sure I have anything to say about my reaction, other than that I loved the form of cooperative living arrangement.
Wandering one of the paths outside of the conservatory, an older Asian woman was walking in the opposite direciton on the same path. She slowed as she approached me and dug into her bag. From it, she removed a pamphlet, which she handed to me as she passed muttering a few words I didn’t understand. “Falun Dafa” read the title of the pamplet, “A Trditional Self-Cultivation Practice to Improve Mind and Body.” Although I had some awareness of the efforts of the Chinese government to eradicate Falun Dafa five or six years ago, I know little about the ancient Chinese meditative practice. But I found it an interesting encounter on the morning of the day on which I would later talk about my book adapting Tibetan Buddhist meditations for Christians.