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There are trilliums by the creek behind my house.
White trinities of soft joy in the evening light,
scattered across the hillside that acts
as boundary between
suburbia and fairyland.

Children straddle a log in the creek,
branches held as oars,
singing softly above the rippling water.
“Row, row, row your boat,
gently down the stream…”

Merrily, merrily, I walk on,
as the creek bends its way through
groves of saplings, newly in leaf,
shimmering in the low light.

I think of another me,
walking – marching – through groves
of beech trees in a harsher, February sun.
She who was restless, longing
for home, for loved ones,
for singing in church
and campfires with friends.

I want to tell the restless me,
“Look! See – Trilliums.
A native flower
in a native land.
A new season has come.”

I pass a couple perched on a fallen log.
She is nursing a baby;
he speaks to her in a language I don’t understand
and she throws her head back and laughs.
I wonder where they came from,
and when,
and what he said to make her laugh.

A young woman stands on the opposite bank,
just visible through the trees.
She stands tall and erect,
her dark hair long beneath her shoulders,
orange sari glowing through the leaves.
I wonder what she prays for, or for whom,
or if she is just taking a moment to be still,
to be at peace.

A high school student walks past me,
her gait quick and determined.
I try to smile at her,
but she avoids my gaze,
staring stonily ahead,
arms crossed over her crop-topped chest.
I wonder how heavy her world is
and against what she is braced.

The trilliums sway in the evening breeze.
It can take years for a trillium to bloom,
and once picked, no other trillium will grow in its place.
I wonder how long these ones have been here,
and where they came from,
and against what they have been braced
to be here now,
tall and erect,
sentinels of a new season,
heads thrown back with the laughter of the wind.

Laura de Jong

Laura de Jong is the Pastor of Preaching and Worship at Community Christian Reformed Church in Kitchener, Ontario


  • Daniel Meeter says:

    Thanks so much.

  • Joyce Looman Kiel says:

    Beautiful and full of memories for me.

  • Tom Boogaart says:

    The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. Song of Solomon 2:12.

    Yesterday I was hiking in Michigan’s Leelanau peninsula and happened upon a manifestation of trilliums covering the forest floor as far as the eye could see. It seemed a portal to another world, a remnant on this threatened planet of the Garden of God.

  • David Hoekema says:

    A lovely evocation of a northern spring!
    But you didn’t have to run off to Canada for trillium — we have an ever growing wild garden of trillium and May apples and even a few — remembering with thanks your time in Grand Haven I’ll call them Jill-in-the-pulpits.

  • Noreen says:

    Thank you for this poetic meditation. Wonderful.

  • Henk Ottens says:

    Well said and evocative. Thanks, Laura. Like David, we, too, have an abundance of the trinity plants, including red ones and even one erect yellow.

  • Jack Ridl says:

    You took me away to where I belong and invited me into the whole sad, joyful, and beautiful world. The poem moves along the same as the walk. Thank you.

  • Dave Tanis says:

    Thank you for sharing Laura. Beautifully said.

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