Anthony Foottit, with illustrations by Pat Albeck
Category: Gift Books
This is a beautifully presented book, hardback and colour-illustrated throughout, which explores the world of wild flowers and discovers in that world a wealth of spirituality.
"To flower and to flourish," writes the author in his introduction (pp.5-7), "is the epitome of existence. It is in the wilderness, the wild places of the earth, that we encounter trees and plants in all their natural beauty, and where our souls are refreshed." Inspired both by the Bible — from the Sermon on the mount, for example, where Jesus says, "Consider the lilies of the field..." — and by other writers, he goes on to explain, "This book attempts to reopen some windows between the visible and the invisible, and to show that our wild flowers are worth conserving for their spiritual significance, as well as their many other virtues."
This is precisely what the book achieves, taking the Christian Year as a framework and leading us, one wild flower at a time, on a journey from the mundane to the spiritual. Even the humble and much detested dandelion provides an object lesson in faith as Jesus' victory over the devil is likened to "the golden flower springing from the lion-jawed leaves."
Throughout the book there are gentle reminders that we are called to live in harmony with the created order, not in opposition to it, that wild flowers grow, as do we, by God's grace. Ivy growing on a vigourous tree gives rise to a discussion of the relationship between those of different faiths. Primroses remind us of Easter morning: "Gardening and giving people breakfast are the works of resurrection."
This is a book that will make a splendid gift for any lover of the natural world, that offers much food for thought: a book that you can pick up, put down and return to again and again for challenge, refreshment and inspiration: highly recommended.
Phil Groom, September 2006
Phil Groom is this site's Webmaster and Reviews Editor. He's a freelance blogger, writer and web developer who spent ten years managing the bookshop at London School of Theology alongside eight years writing web reviews for Christian Marketplace magazine before he came to his senses and went independent. You can find him on facebook or follow him on twitter @notbovvered.
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