Whilst in the throes of Christmas shopping we came across an Amaryllis. I hadn’t seen one for some years. They used to be THE gift for the person who already has everything! An unusual yet easy to cultivate plant that comes in a sealed box with its own bag of compost and a bulb like a large onion. We decided that we would make this a present to ourselves and after coming home I planted it in a pot and placed it on the kitchen window sill. That was in mid December.
For the first week or two nothing seemed to be happening. By December 26tha tiny green shoot had begun to show in the top of the bulb. At this point we went to visit family for three days (a late Christmas celebration). We returned on December 30thto find that a miraculous change had taken place. Where there had been a tiny bud there was now a tall stem some 15 inches high and nearly 1 inch thick with a large flower bud waiting to open at the top. The plant had grown nearly 6 inches a day!!
It set me thinking and researching on plant growth – what exactly is “growing”? The more I researched the more intriguing the topic. Why does the plant stem only grow from the bottom? How does the stem know to grow upwards and the roots know to grow downwards? What would happen if you turned the bulb upside down? How does a plant lean towards the light?
I was not going to be satisfied with answers along the lines of “Plants grow if you give them water and sunlight” and “Plants always grow towards the light”. Why and how do these phenomena take place?
The science of plant growth is a revelation of the complexities of botany (not my strongest suit at school) including such wondrous topics as "the study of plant structure, growth and differentiation, reproduction, biochemistry and primary metabolism, molecular genetics and epigenetics, (which are the mechanisms and control of gene expression during differentiation of plant cells and tissues)". The more one looks into the physical world the more wondrously complex it is.
All of which inevitably raises in my mind the most profound paradox. Why is science so often portrayed as the antithesis of belief in God? It seems self evident to me that our ever deeper study of the physical universe reveals the stunning creative Being that is the source of all life. The very Word of God.
God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, the same last year, this year and next. Yet at the same time God is new every morning and is continuously doing new things. My Amaryllis burst with new life, through the operation of complex biological and biochemical processes all hidden in plain sight.
Happy New Year. Happy new life – new every morning throughout 2019.
The source of life
Standing tall and green,
A stem so full of life
Its pulse is palpable.
An engine of creation
Constrained within a man-made pot.
This amaryllis wonder,
That leans into the light,
By force invisible,
Speaks in silent standing
Where words alone cannot.
So science unveils through ages
The source of so much life
That pulses universal,
In Christ creator
Confined within our human lot.
(c) Martin Wild 2019