ORRIN MORRIS: Wild everlasting graces our fields for many months

The imagery of angry gods that must be placated by extreme sacrifices has dominated the religious expressions of primitive people around the globe. In some cultures, even the sacrifice of children has been practiced to placate the angry gods.

Such actions were taken to cajole the gods to bless crops, to promote fertility and to end violent storms.

The message of the Gospel is the opposite. God was so deeply grieved at the plight of His creation that He sent His son, Jesus, to redeem us for eternity.

The reason for the Messiah's birth is simply expressed in John 3:16-17, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved" (KJV).

God offers us life that lasts forever. Trust Him and accept the gift He offers you.WILD EVERLASTING

Anaphalis obtusifoliumThis plant gets its name from its persistence. Its blooming season extends from June through September and the dead blooms remain visible into winter atop 2- to 3-foot plants. Because it is a woody plant, the dead stem and branches retain their gray and white leaves until trampled or mowed in spring, thus gracing our fields for many months.

The individual disk flower is only inch in diameter, but occurs in clusters that measure 3 to 5 inches across. The bloom is white with a whitish-orange center.

The small and narrow leaves alternate up the hairy stem. The undersides of the leaves are hairy, too, giving them a wooly appearance. After the first frost, the plant dies and the leaves become crinkly with the gray and white appearance mentioned above.

The secondary name, rabbit-tobacco, seems to be a mystery, but the dried leaves have given many preteen lads their first "smoke." I'm not sure that rabbits eat it.

Most of the wildflowers that have been featured in this column have provided beauty and grace, but not this plant, except when it is dead. Whenever a heavy frost occurs during winter the woody stem and ragged looking leaves beautifully sparkle as the rising sun slowly melts the rime.

Everlasting is a weed and ranks along with ragweed as such. Yet it, too, has an important niche in the food chain as the leaves are a favorite of wild turkeys. The rest of the plant provides a frequent source of fiber for deer.

May the message of God's Love dominate your thoughts and relationships with an everlasting persistence.

Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. Notecards are available of the wildflowers published in the Citizen. His email is odmsketchingpad@yahoo.com or call him at 770-929-3697.