How can one little, unique flower change hiker’s habits? And what does it tell us about our worth?
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.”Psalm 139:13 NLT
Heading Up Mt. Humphreys
“Whatever you do, stay on the trail once you get to the ridge,” I warned the students. “In fact, you’ll see a sign near a large rockslide warning you to stay on the trail from that point on.”
“Why?” one of the hikers asked.
“There’s a flower that only grows on the San Francisco Peaks,” I told them. “It’s unique to this area.”
“Really? How big is it?” another student wanted to know.
“Not big,” I told them. I saw one or two of them last week when Miss Laura and I hiked this trail.
“What does it look like?”
“A short, shrubby-looking plant with tiny yellow flowers,” I told them. “I saw some right next to the trail, so make sure you keep your eyes open and don’t accidentally step on one.”
“And be warned, the trail isn’t always clear once you reach the ridge,” Miss Laura reminded the kids.
“Exactly,” I said. “Step carefully so we can do our part to protect this unique to Mount Humphrys flower.”
“Does the flower have a name?” someone asked.
“Yeah,” another student joked, “Bob.”
When the laughter died down, I said, “It’s called the Francisco Peaks groundsel.”
“I’ve never heard of it before, had you?”
“Not until I hiked the mountain last week,” I said.
We set off on our hike, and five miles and 3,367 feet in elevation later, we reached the top of the tallest mountain in Arizona. From the peak of Mount Humphreys, we could see the north rim of the Grand Canyon.
I headed down with the first-to-reach the peak student. “Look,” I said, “Francisco Peak groundsel!”
We Are Unique to Our Creator
“That little thing?” he asked. “I expected something really amazing.”
“It’s amazing because it’s unique to this area,” I said. “In fact, it made the federal government’s threatened species list.
We squatted next to the little plant for a closer look.
“It is kind of cool-looking,” he said. “The leaves and stem look all hairy.”
I laughed. “And I find it amazing it can grow on a pile of rocks.” I snapped a few photos on my cell phone, and we continued our descent.
“I’mma gonna hike on ahead,” he said. “Nature’s calling and I have to get below treeline!”
I laughed again and nodded. No need to make him keep my old lady pace. Other staff members waited further down the trail.
The unique to the two tallest mountains in Arizona flower had me thinking, though. Although tiny and unprepossessing, hikers have had to change their behavior to protect the endangered plant. The forest service built trails to route hikers around the fragile tundra flower. A nearby ski resort couldn’t expand. And hikers who ignore the warnings and cross the roughly 200-acre area where the flower grows face a $500 fine.
All of that for a flower unique to a tiny area on top of the tallest mountains in Arizona (Agassiz Peak is part of the San Francisco Peaks).
Insignificant me takes up a tiny part of a vast planet. Most people will never know about me. I’m not much to look at. Nevertheless, I am unique to my Creator. He knit me together in my mother’s womb and knows me better than I know myself.
I have value and can take comfort in my Father’s regard for me. Do you ever forget your value?